I spent my evening trying to figure out what happened after my mom calls me to say that someone broke into their townhouse. She says the police are on their way. Earlier she called to tell me they were staying in the retirement community for the week.
Wait, you are at the townhouse now?
I was on my way home but changed direction to head over to their house. Before I arrive, I call my brother who says he has already talked to the police. They understand my parents have dementia. I arrive and the policemen are very nice. I get a quick debrief to understand that my dad and a neighbor broke into the townhouse.
After we clean up, board up the broken window and my parents and I are driving back to their retirement community the story emerges.
My dad believed that when his keys didn’t work, we kids changed the lock on the townhouse. He broke in with the help of a neighbor.
During this process, my mom decided someone broke in and then called the police. She was still overwhelmed in the car when she realized they caused the whole issue. My dad seems crystal clear on what happened and apologies to me several times for the mess he caused.
I mentioned to my parents that they both now have holes in the memory that mean together, they make some really poor decisions. We love them and are very concerned for their safety. I also tell them I’m sad they think we would lock them out of their house.
The car issue raises its ugly head. If we would take their cars, wouldn’t we lock them out of their house? I can understand how they jumped to that conclusion. I tell my parents that both my brothers sat with them and discussed this over the course of three days. Unfortunately, they don’t remember.
I walk them to their apartment (to make sure those keys work). I ask them if they would please stay in the retirement community until I can get the entry fixed, clean up the glass and make sure the locks are not so sticky.
My dad is tired and sweaty and already told me he just wants to shower. He promises me they will call before they attempt to go back to the townhouse.
I tell him I am worried they won’t remember. He gives me a nod as I stick a note to the refrigerator. Confronted.