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We lost my 89 year old father last month. My 85 year old mother has dementia (but thinks she's fine). My sister and I live out of state but plan to visit every few weeks. We've increased the in home care from 4 hours 3 days per week to 5 days (with the goal of 7 days). The stove has been turned off. My mother uses a walker and we have cameras throughout the condo. However, the neighbors continue to let us (and the nurse) know that they aren't comfortable with this arrangement. And especially, that my mother is left alone at night. (I check frequently and she is either doing a puzzle, watching TV or reading before putting herself to bed). One couple has already sent a letter to the head of the condo association. This arrangement has only been in place 1 week and so far, I think it's going as well as could be expected. However, I am concerned that one of these neighbors will call someone on my mother which will create a much more serious problem for us. We are looking into assisted living but it takes time to make that happen. The constant "advice" and expressions of concern are only making a very difficult situation more stressful and anxiety filled. Any advice on how to deal with the neighbors?

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I am with Grandma. Unless in the very early stage, a Dementia should not be left alone. If you have had to turn the stove off, your Mom should not be alone. Things can worsen overnight, literally. The Nurses I worked with, as a secretary, called it an episode. Your Dad probably covered up a lot and did for her what she couldn't. I would get her into an AL or MC asap. Be glad that her neighbors care. And like said, the Condo assoc. can call APS. What if your mother starts a fire or turns on the tub and forgets and does damage to another residents condo? Dementia has no rhyme or reason and very unpredictable.
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MJ1929 Jan 14, 2022
Dad covering for her is 100% spot-on.

My dad covered for my mom because he truly didn't understand she had dementia. Many of her issues were attributed to her macular degeneration, and she also didn't want to go out in public like she used to, so most people had no idea how bad she was.

In my opinion, neighbors who were merely annoyed by Mom's situation would complain to the management. People who are truly concerned make the effort to contact the family as these people did.

People were so clueless about her condition that after Dad died and she moved into a nursing home (a full four years after dementia set in), she convinced a visitor that she had remarried and he spread that "joyous" news all over town not knowing that her new husband was imaginary.
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The 'nosy neighbors' could wind up doing your mother a huge favor by looking out for her. They can also wind up calling APS and reporting a vulnerable senior with dementia being left alone; all sorts of things can happen here. You have no control over how THEY choose to handle their anxiety over your mother being left alone for 20 hours per day in her condo.

You can tell the neighbors that you're looking into Memory Care AL for your mom, but there's nothing more you're going to do about the situation in the meantime. If they all APS, you'll deal with that matter if and when it happens.

My mother has advanced dementia these days & sundowns something awful; when it first began, she started declining around 2 pm every day and her agitation got progressively worse as the evening approached. As the others have said, dementia can turn on a dime, especially after a loved one passes away & the elder is traumatized & alone. I would seriously look into 24 hr a day care for your mother until she gets placed. That will calm down the neighbors fears and get them off of your back too, not to mention it will help YOU relax a bit more. More help is never a mistake; less help can often leave you with regrets.

My condolences on the loss of your father. Best of luck getting your mother placed asap. Please be sure it's Memory Care AL you look into and not regular AL.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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Me, I'd listen to the neighbors. They may have good reasons for their concerns.

Your mom has dementia AND thinks she's fine. That's the last person you should listen to on that.

Do the neighbors see her more than you do? They may have a better sense of what's going on with her than you realize.

Her cognizance may take a significant dive in the wake of your dad's death. In my mother's case, any medical or emotional crisis caused her to take a big drop from which she'd never quite recover. Dementia isn't a slow gradual decline -- sometimes there are big changes almost overnight.

Try to look two steps ahead in this scenario, because you need to be prepared for big changes that could occur at any time.
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Beatty Jan 9, 2022
Sadly, yes, big drops can happen, especially with grief.

An acquaintance's very recently widowed Mother had to be hospitalized after sudden massive confusion & falls. One adult child said 'oh I think she'll be ok at home again'. Wanted to trial it. The other asked for honest feedback from hospital staff & then pushed for supervised care immediately. Poor woman was found crawling along corridors at night (not dressed) looking for 'home'. Never actually recovered & passed short time after.

It sometimes is lightening fast.
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Jaz, have you checked your Mom, via camera, in the middle of the night?

Why I ask is that when my Dad was living in Independent Living, Admin was suggesting it is time to move Dad to Memory Care, as he has been trying to leave the building in the middle of the night. That took me totally by surprise.
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I am of the belief that someone with Dementia should not be left alone. My Husband “escaped” 3 times broad daylight while I was in the house. 2 times he walked away and another he took my car, police in the next state found him 13 hours later.
There is the possibility that the neighbors could place a call to APS. If and when that happens what will the response be when mom answers the door?
I think you need another plan. Either someone with her 24/7 or placement in a Memory Care community.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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I'm so sorry for your loss.

Well, it's kind of concerning that multiple neighbors are worried enough to get involved in the first place. And they see her every day. Unless you're living with the person with dementia you may not see the trouble they're routinely having. And a big life change is going to be tremendously disorienting for her.
That's a big loss for anyone, but worse for a person with dementia, as the routine they had with their partner gives structure to their day. The neighbor's are kind to be concerned about her.
Watching your mom online isn't going to help her if she gets into a jam. If she can't rescue herself then I'd get in the night sitter until you can find her a good AL or memory care.
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NolanHodges Jan 12, 2022
Elizabeth, I currently live in Texas, and my mom passed away a few years after they retired to South Carolina. The only way I truly knew that my dad was having enough issues to consider filing for conservatorship/guardianship was feedback from people near by. I am not saying all have the same heart felt concern for our family members, but sometimes they are trying to look out for them. I think communication here is key, but it depends on if they are willing to listen or not. This is hard on all of us and we don't need others outside the circle making things even worse. God speed and I hope she finds a solution that she and her family is comfortable with. That's really all that matters. This has been so much more painful and gut wrenching that I was ever prepared for. Thank you all for the support, and I am here for you as well.
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Thanks for getting back to me. Yes, we've let them know that the stove is off, that we have cameras, etc. We asked them if they were worried about themselves. They replied that they did not have concerns re: their own safety, and it was only out of concern for my mother. We even mentioned that we were exploring assisted living. It seems like the only thing that would appease them is 24/7 live in care. This would be incredibly intrusive for my mother which is why ass't living is a better alternative. The condo president even replied to us that he didn't think this was an immediate concern. And that we had time to figure things out.
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Katefalc Jan 11, 2022
In that case, they need to back off and mind their own business BUT it’s comforting to know that someone close by is looking out for her as well… isn’t it?
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Jaz129….my first inclination is to tell the nosy neighbors to mind their own business, you and sis have things under control for the immediate future. Sounds like y’all have covered all the bases, especially with regard to the condo manager, in keeping your mom as safe as possible for now. Best wishes to all three of you! Liz
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rovana Jan 12, 2022
Covered all the bases? I'll mention one of my condo neighbors who decided to get in her car, turn the engine on and then could not figure out how to open the garage door. Fortunately another neighbor realized what was happening and called the cops who quickly forced the door before she died of carbon monoxide. The thing is that family often does not take early dementia seriously enough. Neighbors who do not want to get burned to death are not "nosy" IMO.
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This isn't meant to be snarky or frivolous, but it may be in the future that robots would be fulfilling these kinds of positions.
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Katefalc Jan 11, 2022
WHAT? How is this helpful “ advice”???
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I think it quite likely that the neighbors are worried to death what would happen to your mom if there was a fire, if she fell during the night or if she became ill.

Why does getting her into an AL take a long time? Have you identified a couple that are within her price range, perhaps near you?
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BurntCaregiver Jan 15, 2022
If those concerned neighbors were so worried to death about the mom staying alone at night, they'd be taking it in turns to stay at her house overnight every night or take it in shifts to patrol her place in the overnight to make sure there aren't any fires blazing or any deranged lunatics trying to get in.
I'm sure none of them are doing that. The mom could have one of those LifeAlert bracelets or pendants on in case she falls or became ill.
No, what this looks like to me is a bunch of nosey neighbors who don't know how to mind their own business.
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