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I often read or hear about dementia patients leaving their homes and wandering outside and family members have to go searching for them. There is absolutely no excuse for this! All it takes is for the caregiver to call a locksmith, and he will gladly oblige with a dead bolt and several keys, and of course the patient will never have a key; it will not be possible to leave the house. I don't know why all caregiver spouses don't automatically do this before the wandering begins. I have three doors in our house that needed dead bolts, and it cost me just over $700, but it was well worth it because I can sleep peacefully now knowing that there is no way in the world my husband cannot open any of the doors while I'm asleep. He has tried and has asked for a key, and I told him that I did this for his own safety and for my piece of mind. He has finally accepted my decision.

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Willows, we're not trying to be judgemental or negative. We couldn't tell from your original post how experienced you were. Please accept my apologies, and please stay. We learn from each other.
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Willows, if you reread your original post, you will find you wrote some negative connotations about caregivers having no excuse for allowing dementia patients from wandering. I applaud you for doing whatever you can to keep your spouse safe. Hope you can find some positive support to help you in your caregiver journey.
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Willow, sounds like you are becoming burnt out from being your husband's full-time caregiver. You are not alone, there are many on this forum who are experienced Caregivers who are trying to give you advice and some heads up on various situations.
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Fregflyer, nobody is locked inside a house in case of a fire! What is it with you people? My husband wouldn't know enough to escape a fire even if all three doors were left unlocked. He would freeze. I am leaving this ill-begotten "caregiver forum." There is such a negative atmosphere here, I can't stand it. GOODBYE!
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Pamstegman, my husband is NEVER alone! What gave you that notion? And to whom would 911 respond? My husband wouldn't know enough to call 911. He doesn't know how to use a cell phone. As for hanging that 911 thingie around his neck, he wouldn't know what to do with it. I am an experienced caregiver, who worked with Alzheimer's patients in their homes for several years before I quit in order to stay home with my husband so you are not chatting with a neophyte here. I know what I'm doing.
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W. Im assuming that you have someone with your husband 24/7 and that someone always has the key on their person. So Pam's situation won't obtain. But my uncle's dementia advanced and he became assaultative. No to be a downer, it may never happen to you. Just want you to think a coupleof steps down the road . Good thoughts!
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If you look around on this site, you will read where 911 responds, finds the elder locked in alone and immediately reports this to the county social services. The caseworker comes out, again finds the elder alone and locked in. The POA will be charged with abuse/neglect. You don't ever want that on your personal record, trust me.
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My knee jerk reaction to your post was "no-way no-how", however every family must make decisions based on their own circumstances, and I am glad that your choice is working out for you. Personally, just the PITA factor of having to key lock the door every time anyone enters/exits would make it impractical.
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Willows, one can put door alarms on the exterior doors of the house that would alert you and the rest of the house that the door is opening. That is a lot safer than being locked in a house should there be a fire or another 911 type call out. It's easy to say we would do this or that in an emergency, such as a fire, but it's another story when one is actually facing that emergency.
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How is my husband going to be trapped inside? If a fire were to break out, he is in a state now where he wouldn't know what to do. I really resent your overly dramatic nonsense! We have smoke alarms throughout our large Victorian style home. If it were necessary to get out, I, my daughter, and my son-in-law each have a key at our fingertips. Do you not think that our situation was talked about and thought about before we took action? How would you like it if you woke up one morning at 6:30 and found your husband in the front yard on his back with the back of his head lying against the concrete because he had sneaked out? THAT'S when he could have died, had not my grandson found him and run yelling into the house. He found him because he was out that early with the dog before leaving for his first class at school!

I know what I'm doing! I have already "thought twice about those locks." That's why I had them installed!!!
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Laws are not made to be broken. If something horrible happened at your home and your hubby was trapped inside, guess who will be hauled off to court.... you.

As for your husband's dementia.... please note there are different stages of dementia and one stage a person could become violent. That is probably what had happened with ba8alou above, and many others have written the same on these forums.

You may want to think twice about those locks.
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I know of no such fire code where I live, nor am I about to look into it now. All I know is I called a locksmith and presto! Done! My daughter, who lives in the apartment upstairs, has two keys, and I have two keys, and there is one to spare hidden in the garage. And even if there were a code, I wouldn't care. I did what I had to do for the safety of the one I have to care for.

Laws are made to be broken. I had property I had to get rid of in an adjoining town. The renter skipped off to Mexico, leaving me with hundreds of dollars worth of unpaid bills. I met with my lawyer after three trips back and forth to the sheriff's office in Wheaton, Illinois. It cost me every time I went. The law is that the sheriff has to post a paper on the door I don't know how many times informing the tenant of his rights, etc. etc. blah blah blah.

My attorney told me to forget all this and go in and claim my property and get it ready to put on the market. I said, "But the law....." He said, "The h*ll with the law! Just do it!" So I did, and it sold even before I could get it listed.

Sometimes you have to ignore the law and go with common sense!
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There is a good reason double keyed locks are against fire code in many jurisdictions. I suppose it would be acceptable if you carry the key with you at all times....
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Well, I am very fortunate in that my husband, who has dementia, is sweet and kind and appreciative and I do not see him becoming even border-line mean. He did get a tad agitated about having a key, but I finally convinced him that for his own safety and my peace of mind, he cannot have one. He has stopped asking for a key. I think your particular situation may be an exception to the rule. I don't think there are all that many dementia patients who would "beat a caregiver until she was black and blue." I stand by what I posted. Dead bolts are the way to go, and the reason more caregivers don't have them installed is because they just don't think it's as simple as rolling off a log. As I said, it's not cheap, but it is well worth the peace of mind for the caregiver and the safety of her loved one.
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My aunt did this. My previously sweet and gentle uncle beat her black and blue, many times, in an attempt to get the key from her. It works until it doesn't.
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