I'm not getting off this bus.

4

Have more questions and don't know where to turn?


Join our community and get access to monthly support calls, an online chat forum for questions, and even monthly 1:1 calls with Rachael! CLICK HERE for more information.

“I won’t, I know it’s a trick, I want to go home and I won’t get off this bus until it takes me there,” she said.

This was, by far, the most challenging encounter I’ve had with a person with dementia. She had just come back from a doctor’s appointment, and the bus was parked outside of our Clare Bridge. This, however, was not where she wanted to be. “I’m not going in there. I’m not getting off this bus,” she said, sitting with her arms folded. It had already been about a half hour of this when I arrived on the scene. After a couple minutes of thinking and talking to her, I asked, “Okay, where do you want to go?” “I want to go back to where I was,” she said, which of course was a doctor’s office. It was clear that she wasn’t sure where she wanted to go, but either way, this bus had to go somewhere. “I hate hotels, I am not going to stay here!” she exclaimed.

I paused, and went to the bus driver. “Can you drive us around for five minutes and then park in the back of this building?” I asked. He was probably exhausted with this already, but he was a good sport. “Sure.” He did exactly that, and I attempted to talk with my resident on the way. She was frustrated and wasn’t giving me much in the way of conversation. We arrived at the back of the building. “Where is this! I don’t want to be here, I want to go home…no one listens to me, why did my granddaughter put me here? I raised that girl…why am I here…” she went on. 

It was nearing another half hour before I was able to find something that may work to coax her off the bus. “Okay, this is where the bus stops,” I said. “You know how buses have routes, and this is where this one ends. We need to get on another bus.” “No,” she said, “I know that you’re trying to trick me and I won’t get off this bus!” I sighed. “Okay, how about this? We can either stay here overnight, I can get a cab, or we can rent a car, but in any case, we have got to get off this bus.” Something seemed to click as she realized that we had to leave the bus. I understood now that she didn’t want to be left alone. “You’ll stay with me, right? When you get the car? You’ll travel with me,” she said. “I’m right here,” I said. 

We finally got inside. I sat with her and talked. I then went and got her favorite tea and a piece of cake, since she had missed the usual dinner hour. Suddenly, she was peaceful again. It seemed as though the concerns about the bus had washed away, and she was all smiles for the rest of the evening.

Liked it? Take a second to support Rachael Wonderlin on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of three published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

16 things poster
Get the FREE “16 Things” poster!

You're not alone!

Get personal support from Rachael and connect with other Caregivers when you join our community.

16 Things I Would Want If I Got Dementia

Get the FREE “16 Things” poster for your personal use—or better yet—your dementia care community’s staff break room!

I wrote this poem years ago, but to date, it’s the most popular piece I’ve ever created.


When you sign up, you’ll also get access to Rachael’s weekly newsletter so that you can get her top tips, links to new content as soon as it’s released, and special offers directly in your inbox! We’ll never sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

16 things poster
Shopping Cart

Have questions?

Book a Dementia Detective
call and talk to a DBD expert!