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We have some new kitchen equipment to be installed by an electrician and possibly a helper. Range hood, cook top, built-in oven replacements. Last summer we had two walls to be painted. Mom with dementia was a horrible pain. Our home is open/split level and I had to literally play body guard to keep her out of the poor painter's way. We had moved furniture to block her path. I hired an aide for the time to help who was useless and did nothing since I was jumping up faster than she to block her path toward the painter. In this case there are two doorways into the kitchen, but there is going to be a lot of back and forth to get the items from the living/dining room and possibly going out to the truck for supplies. We can lock her out of the kitchen (the old coat hanger over the two knobs on louvered doors) but if she gets in...it will be hell. Sometimes an obvious solution is in front of you and you don't see it, so I'm asking you all...We have no family or friends that would want to put up with her; no day care/respite due to COVID; thought of dad taking her to a hotel at a shopping center but she may not be cooperative about going and she could start the "I want to go home" routine.
Dad at 103 is a wuss...but there's a slim chance we could lock her into the upstairs bedroom area and I could bring food to them...but one false move and she could be out. She has dementia, but she can be sneaky and fast. I can't be the only one whose had to do this...
Maybe an aide hired to keep her contained upstairs? Her reaction to aides before has been negative. It might even be a horrible challenge if she's downstairs when they arrive to get her upstairs to begin with...

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How about taking her to visit friends. With COVID this may be tough. We had a lot of repairs scheduled/ planned while my mom was to go to a friends for a week. COVID put an end to it. The water would have been off for a while while valves were to be put in and then the kitchen upgrades in the sink area could take 2 days...... That said I can't prune her bushes without micro management. Every project has to be talked about for 45 minutes...... Tomorrow is a holiday- I'm offering cocktails early....... while a pipe is repaired....Wish me luck
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Reply to bowgirl
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Imho, an aide COULD work.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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This is an opportunity to try out respite care in your area. You probably will find that the places that provide memory care, have a day program or offer respite services.

You said that you don't have support of nearby family or close friends. Build up other support systems. You have just a day that she needs to be out of the way. But you probably need a resource to provide care in case you can't, or even if you need a break to take care of yourself.
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Reply to LauraDangel
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An aide would be the way to go. And if the aid is confined to the same room or area as your mom ...and you would have to remain out of the room or area...the aide would then be responsible. If you jump up to prevent mom from roaming around it gives the aid no reason to do so. You have to let them do what they are supposed to do. Give clear instructions to keep mom in a particular area.
If your mom is taking any anti anxiety medication give them prior to the work starting, about 30 minutes in advance. If she is not on any it might be a good idea to discuss this with the doctor on your next visit. (I doubt they would prescribe over the phone on short notice bit it might be worth a call. Keep in mind they all do not work, and it might take time to find the correct medication and the correct dose.
I would hesitate giving anything that would make her real unsteady due to the stairs.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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I used a baby gate. I was lucky that I had the stairway wall all the way to the floor and cabinets on the other side. I placed the gate a little higher up, actually had a 4x4 piece of wood to stablize it. By doing this, it hit Mom waist level so she couldn't climb it. She never tried to pull it down. It was just a barrier. This was a pressure gate. But it came with a part which made it a swinging gate. More permanent.

She would holler up to me that this "thing" was in the way. I just could not have her coming up those steps. And she was no help getting her up and down them. Always had my DH take her up and down. When I didn't put it up, I didn't hear her until she hit the door. My fear was her falling backwards and hitting that floor.

My third floor is a den, bath and bedroom. It would have been perfect but no way to gate off the area. No solid wall on one side, just a railing going to 2 bedrooms on the top floor and that is 6 stairs up. And 6 stairs down to the living room. Daughter is an RN and suggested the ground floor. I had to eventually place her in an AL. It was shaped like a rectangle and one floor. She was able to walk around the halls. Was so much better for her.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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How about a nice trip visiting AL places? Some of them are really good at showing you around, giving you lunch etc. Three visits could fill up the day. Perhaps you could drop her off and arrange pickup times. And tell her to co-operate if she wants you to take her home!
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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What kind of projects can you think of, projects that will absorb her attention, perhaps like coloring sophisticated designs of landscapes, gardens, or something similar? Coloring is not only creative but it's soothing and from what I've read and seen on tv programs is used to calm those with dementia.

Or perhaps the day before installation you can ask her to help remove anything that would be in the way of the installation. She'll be tired by the end of the day, and that may overlap into the following day.

Or do all the laundry, including blankets, etc., and have her help you fold the items. Take periodic (water, lemonade or other safe liquid) breaks to make it an more enjoyable project.

Get out photo albums and go through them, even if she doesn't recognize the people in the photos.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Heavy duty tranquilizers will do the trick.

Just kidding.

Not.

Good luck!
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Reply to lealonnie1
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gdaughter Jun 29, 2020
For MEEEEE? I was just thinking this AM, that when my big bro took care of me (he's an oral surgeon) I remember how the anxiousness just evaporated in seconds as the valium kicked in. Well, thank god we still have our sense of humor, right? But she's a pistol...ever since the adventure a few weeks back where dad had gone golfing and I was upstairs working, and she went out on an 80 degree day to go chat it up with a couple neighbors...in her white furry robe and slippers. So now we deadbolt the doors and the only way for her to get out is into the fenced and padlocked back yard. Really great set up actually. EXCEPT, like the other day when Dad forgot to lock the door...and she had gone next door where there were 12 shirtless guys putting siding on the house and she was in the way/a concern. I went to get her back and she just was her obnoxious self and perfectly content to just be right there where she felt she belonged and had every right to be. I used the old "The phone is for you! :-)" line. Dawdle. "C'mon! Hurry up! They're going to hang up!" And you know what she said? Dementia or not...she had the ability to come right back with "they'll call back!"
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Is it possible for you to stay with her during the duration? We had many workers in our home, kitchen, hardwood floors refinished. My mother always had someone with her during this time, we put music on, snacks, movie, nap in the afternoon. We took her out for a few hours some days, if was a nice sunny day and only if I trusted the workers. We went to my cousins overnight. It is so easy to get distracted during renervations, need a safe plan. I definitely would not leave her alone. who knows what trouble she will get into. Difficult situation, but can be solved with good planning. Good luck.
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Reply to earlybird
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gdaughter Jun 29, 2020
I would go insane. ANd the guys might need me to be around for whatever...but Dad could hang out with her and that might be our only choice...increasingly thinking it's our only option...to keep her upstairs, maybe get a more secure higher up lock on their bedroom door and keep her in there with dad for the duration. Mornings are mostly spent reading anyhow...but the timing...gonna be a real rough one...it will mess with the routine if the guys show up before they're done with their coffee etc. Oh, no she wouldn't be alone for sure. thanks.
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It's really difficult, because, the options are limited. Wherever you take her outside the home, she's going to be antsy. I think that's just the nature of it.

I wouldn't rely on someone to occupy her that is a senior, poor health or new to her. A new person may not be able to relate or exert proper management of her location. So rely on people who know her well and can perhaps switch off to give the other a break. Take off work, make arrangements, etc. Can you camp out with her favorite foods, favorite movie, favorite music? Can you rent a keyboard of put one up on you Ipad and encourage her to play. It's rather amusing to add sounds in as you play on the keyboard. Or, coloring, sorting old photos, etc. Any activity to keep her occupied and not prone to enter the work area. And, watch her constantly. Don't even take a bathroom break while you're watching.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
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I live in a split too. My Moms room was on ground level. She had a full bath and easy excess out. 6 steps up to the kitchen. I gated her in. At times she was not happy but it was the only way to keep her from going up stairs. I have louvered doors too, never heard of the hanger thing.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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gdaughter Jun 29, 2020
The hanger security system! You never heard of it LOL? Godsend. Of course your knobs have to be just the right size for it to work; you loop the hanger upside down so the 2 corners are slipped around the knobs and the hook is downward...but MY mother is ---So two sets of doors at both ends of the kitchen...and if she can't get in the front, she'll go right to the back...and she was able to open the doors just a couple inches, even WITH the hanger, Just enough to reach her hand in and attempt to lift the hanger off! IMPROVISE time: I bent the hook so it was very narrow, and then used a step ladder with a wire across the back, lifted it up a smidge, and then looped the hanger hook around it...So what kind of gates did you use, where' d you find it, did it lock???
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HOw about Adult Daycare? Covid being around the corner, that may not be good.

Another family member around so she can be at someone else's home for a bit?
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Reply to MAYDAY
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gdaughter Jun 29, 2020
Yeah, under normal circumstances it might be something to contemplate..but no way now. We have no family. We're it except for a few people out of state including my only sibling who is in FL and I don't want her risking being in a plane right now...she would bring the potential risk into the house for us then.
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Been there. It is a pain. We had a neighbor that did that kind of work, so not too bad. When the roof had to be replaced that had to be respite, no choice.

With that kind of work, I would get a caregiver, pretend she is a friend to take her out to lunch and shopping. Music? One of her favorite movies?

And dad at 103?! This would be too much for him to take care of mom. Maybe caregiver take them both out?
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Reply to gladimhere
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gdaughter Jun 29, 2020
The roof being replaced would be a picnic, we'd just have to lock her in and that could be done.
The caregiver routine has been a dismal fail as evidenced by having an aide when the painter was here doing 2 walls as I mentioned. If mama doesn't want to budge, she will not. Shows lots of resistance especially going with a stranger. She might bite on the lunch and shopping idea, but I'm telling you--these two go out for a meal and they are back in under an hour. Not at a point of having a favorite anything.
As for dad...you have no idea. He's still pretty darn sharp. He drives, golfs, mows the lawn, cleans the gutters on a ladder (try to stop him, I dare you). He's deaf, so mom's nonsense doesn't bother him nearly as much as the rest of the world.
She's just too much of an ornery challenge...but thanks for trying.
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