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Mom's behaviors continue to increase in being more challenging. I need to keep my BP down after an aortic dissection. I am learning to be less reactive when her behavior agitates me. Made worse by her beloved husband whose ignorance is beyond maddening. I.e. we COULD easily wrap some light weight chain around a couple knobs on doors to our kitchen (2 louvered ones) attach a small (ie luggage) lock and keep her locked out so she couldn't access the fridge which is like her entertainment system. He refuses. A toddler proof locked was defeated when she was determined and put all her strength into it. My plan was that that lock would work and we got a mini fridge for the family room she could access where healthy food and snacks would be for her to find. She has not used that, and it has become a "secret" (but really not) hiding spot where dad has stashed his collection of salad dressings, me a couple bottles of juice I am afraid to open because they may leak if on their sides. She has taken to dumping out things in the big fridge...or possibly consuming them. Condiments, dressings, ketchup, mustard, chocolate syrup etc. She has dumped out my carafe of freshly brewed iced tea 3 times in one week. Last week I suspected something was going on with the bbq sauce. So I have taken to marking with a line on the label what I can. One day the level of product was HIGHER. An equally scary thought. Last week I caught her sticking her dirty fingers into a jar of their jam, to eat....after sucking on her fingers, back in the jar again. Yesterday she was gnawing on celery, unwashed. We cannot watch her 24/7 and the behavior is not so horrendous (and no wandering or bathroom issues) I cannot justify placement, but her refusal to listen and obey others to help maintain boundaries and sanity is a challenge. I do have one toddler lock she has not figured out on the fruit bin in the fridge. So this is my locked safe spot. How have others coped with this issue and/or what type of lock have you used? PS....if she is not challenge enough, my father uses things up he has not purchased so there is none for Me.

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I saw a documentary once about Prader–Willi Syndrome. Apparently these patients are very skilled at getting by fridge locks. I know there are some companies that make fridge locks for group homes that house these patients. I think there might also be some specific food containers that are made guaranteed safe from Prader-Willi patients. You might look into some of these.
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Hi all...just wanted to post a quick update...tonight I went out to go to the grocery which means a challenge on return home or work to do later if agent 98 is still up. I saw her in the window as we pulled up. Luckily she was headed upstairs to bed. At one point she was in the hallway (after I had transferred all the bags into the kitchen) and I literally locked her in the bedroom area with the old coat hanger routine from the outside of the doors! So I could unload in peace, but it is a real challenge to condense and hide and try to lock up in the small spaces. It's quite a talent (I never wanted to have). I also did a little prep work for things I hope to make that are healthy for ME to eat (and them as well)...like taking the tails off some shrimp and dicing up some watermelon. Then finding ways and places to stash it. I also went to make some more iced tea for myself...and when I popped the microwave open the paper towel on the plate was wet and there was debris on the door and the ceiling. So I sat down and I wrote 103 a note that began that I was NOT his maid and if he couldn't use the microwave without making a mess or cleaning up after himself then he shouldn't. I told him ALL the romaine was NOT his and it would be nice if I could have some when I wanted a salad. I also told him I hid a package of chicken parmigiana under the romaine in the bin, and if 98 got to it and opened it, it would be trashed. Maybe that will motivate him. When I think of all the hassles and energy they consume....it is really irksome....but on we go.
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Llamalover47 Feb 9, 2021
gdaughter: Wow! So sorry that you have to go through all that. I'll pray that things get better.
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gdaughter: Imho, there are frig locks for sale on Amazon. Moreso, does your mother have a food addiction? That is really frustrating that she is dumping out your freshly brewed iced tea and other things.
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gdaughter Feb 9, 2021
We know about the fridge lock, thanks. I don't think I would call mom's behavior an addiction. I think she likes to stuff her mouth and eat what tastes good to her, more like an obsession. Just made me realize I hit Costco earlier and forgot to pick up a case of black olives (one of her fav's) The iced tea issue was very ie. overly distressing to me at the time as I had less stamina and energy recovering from the dissected aorta and surgery for it....and the process to make the tea takes a bit...and it was just that final straw that pushed me over the edge. I boil the water in the microwave for 2 minutes, then steep the bags (special ones of course LOL) all 4 of them for 5 minutes. Using filtered water which I have to make more of and wait for that. When she dumped the carafe it was less than a day old and FULL. It was just maddening. Probably something that only tea drinkers/makers can appreciate...thanks for understanding:-)
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Try an inexpensive window/door alarm on the refrigerator.
Because your Mother needs more supervision.

https://diydanielle.com/refrigerator-door-alarm/

You can then intervene and feed her, giving her the right foods.

The loud noise may have her closing the door quickly.

And, try placing a plate with an attractive meal, ready to eat, under the see-through plastic film, always available.
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gdaughter Feb 9, 2021
good ideas, thanks. Although I am the one that will probably set the alarm off and be rattled by it or it will make my pup woof! I still say the best idea is locking her out of the kitchen. I can't even prep dinner the night before in peace because if anything is in there she could put her filthy hands in it and consume it before anyone has any the next day. Just tonight I "hid" a container of cantaloupe in the garage for dad and left him a note....if she saw it she would demolish the whole thing. I've already discovered leaving anything at eye level she will go for. It's her entertainment or possibly her way of coping with the stress of dad being out of her sight when he goes out to go to the mall to go walking. Who knows.
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Just a comment on ‘a fridge for my room’. We have a freezer in the spare bedroom. When anyone visits, we have to turn the freezer off overnight because it cycles on and off and disturbs sleep. Even more important, we have to remember to turn it on again in the morning. If you have any other room that you can fit with a lock, it might be worth putting the freezer there instead of your own bedroom.

Another option might be to check commercial truckies' load ties, which are long enough to go around a fridge. I’d guess there would be some with locks, to protect the load against theft. Very tough, and not so likely to damage the fridge.
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gdaughter Feb 9, 2021
Now there's a new idea! Yeah, hate to damage the thing with it being so new, but at this point caring less. Just want it to be consistently used (god forbid dad forgets to relock it or she gets the lock....) and doesn't lead to massive frustration.
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Hey G,
I had the exact same problem. So frustrating to walk into the kitchen and see my mom drinking out of the salad dressing bottles, or sticking her finger in the peanut butter, or (ewww) sticking her tongue into the neck of the salad dressing bottle!
these are the locks i got for various cabinets and the fridge. They have worked so far, she's moderate dementia and she hasn't figured them out yet (and she has tried many many times lol). Good luck! :)
https://www.amazon.com/Cabinets-Drawers-Dishwasher-Adhesive-Drilling/dp/B072KPZMMV/ref=sr_1_8?dchild=1&keywords=cabinet+locks&qid=1612811722&s=baby-products&sr=1-8
and
https://www.amazon.com/Adoric-Sliding-Cabinet-Childproof-Bathroom/dp/B074FW21SM/ref=pd_bxgy_img_2/135-4126745-4940568?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B074FW21SM&pd_rd_r=085da5fc-428a-4259-842e-9a3df165bba4&pd_rd_w=15vj2&pd_rd_wg=hrcg0&pf_rd_p=f325d01c-4658-4593-be83-3e12ca663f0e&pf_rd_r=54TX3KG8WK1Q8M6Y54GP&psc=1&refRID=54TX3KG8WK1Q8M6Y54GP
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gdaughter Feb 8, 2021
THANK YOU. I will check these out. LONG>>>>>LINKS LOL. Note she did just yank with all her might on the one we tried thus far and got the fridge open. Glad to have a new friend who "gets" it LOL. GOSH is it frustrating. Especially when I am trying to eat healthy and my greens and other stuff just go vanishing! My father only likes his non-nutritious iceberg...but taking mine is so much easier than having to cut up his own! Edging closer and closer to a fridge for my room, but cannot take the additional stress of worrying about an electrical /fire hazard in this house that is 60+ years old now! thanks...
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I am not familiar with these locks but I do know they exist and I agree completely. They will have to be used. In the meantime, she has dementia and she will continue to make life hell for you. Somehow YOU must find a way to set boundaries and enforce them, perhaps keep her in one area of the house with a gate that is open but which she can't get through. This is a nightmare and I know I would totally explode. Why can't you place her? If it is finances, let medicaid help. This behavior cannot be allowed to continue. No one should have to put up with family who act like this.
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gdaughter Feb 8, 2021
Ah, yes...but family is family and from my observations and knowledge the guilt and stress I would feel with her placement and the upset it would cause dad, if he even agreed to it, would only raise my BP which we are aiming to lower. Without drugs. Don't start with me on that one....Our home is split level and airy and open where the stairs to all levels are in the middle so that idea is lovely (gating) but not feasible not to mention the expense and it being their home dad would have to agree and cooperate. The easiest answer has already been identified...locking her out of the kitchen and he is no agreeable to that as it is. The lifestyle is getting exhausting and frustrating I'll tell you that. I have some personal care items/toiletries etc in my bathroom and fear she will dump them out so have even considered keeping that door locked which would inconvenience and frustrate me further (not to mention how she walks with dirty shoes on my white bathroom rugs! I have unpleasant thoughts...duct tape comes to mind LOL. But I couldn't. Moving her out would only add to my stress level as I mentioned above. Guess it's a matter of the lesser evils. I am motivated though as I had a dissected aorta a few months ago which was terrifying. thanks for caring.
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I used a bicycle lock ( cable)
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disgustedtoo Feb 8, 2021
That might work if there are 2 handles (side-by-side fridge/freezer), but most bicycle cables probably aren't long enough to go around the fridge, when there's only one handle.

Good idea for the side-bys though!
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gdaughter, my spouse has ischemic dementia and is diabetic. I am fortunate that from day one we had a refrigerator in the garage. However, I want to mention to you, and other interested readers, that there is another option. I recently replaced our upright freezer and discovered that there are models that can be used as either freezer or refrigerators, and some to come with a lock! Some models come "garage ready" (geared to be more efficient in variable temps.) I know it's not been an easy time to shop for appliance because of covid disrupting supply lines etc but I think availability is easy up. May be worth talking a look. Failing that, chain and padlock would be an alternative though an extreme one.
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gdaughter Feb 8, 2021
Oh, that is good to know, but just not feasible for us especially now. My big regret is that when we replaced former fridge we had it taken away and had I had a crystal ball I would have tried to find a way to get it to fit in the garage or our laundry room. Our city provided supersized bins for recycle and trash (No options) and so the space is gone from that. In any case as awful as it is, I just couldn't justify are buying another one so soon and I'm sure dad would not agree. He is becoming as big a problem as mom due to his stubborness. I am hoping that her poopy accident in the living room this past weekend which greatly bothers him will change his thinking since what she had consumed I suspect was a factor....but I'm not getting my hopes up too high. It really would not be so hard to just lock her out of the kitchen if he'd cooperate!
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Maybe consider attaching metal cable with loops at the ends around the refrigeration and lock when you need to. Other option is to get a refrigerator and place it in the garage to hold the majority of your food. Let the kitchen refrigerator be her snacking station.
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gdaughter Feb 8, 2021
Yeah, well not too convenient to go into the garage when trying to make dinner. And this was the premise behind the original plan to lock her out of the kitchen and have her be able to access the mini fridge we bought specifically for this purpose and put in the family room...for that to be her healthy snacking station so to speak.
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This has nothing to with the refrigerator —

I just want to thank you for caring for her. It is not easy but it is beautiful. She may not be able to thank you anymore, but she would be very grateful for your kindness.

I will remember your story and be inspired by the love and caring you are showing by keeping her home.
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earlybird Feb 8, 2021
Well said, ACaringDaughter. Heartfelt and sensitive post
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I’ve used a bungeee cord but it can be easily cut. I now hide items my Dad with dementia likes behind items he doesn’t like. I hide food behind a wall of eggs or egg cartons. I hide food behind jars of horseradish, pickles, mustard and ketchup. I’ve even hidden food like covered dishes of fruit under bags of prewashed lettuce mix.
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gdaughter Feb 8, 2021
God bless! YOu know the game! WHich is so exhausting! Get this: I am fond of Nellie's eggs. They are very costly but give me peace when I use them...well mom was taking them! Yes. Unclear if she thought they were hard boiled or what but I think she was actually cracking and eating them raw...so they got shoved in the mini fridge which of course has limited space. I had my salad spinner (often filled with torn ready to use greens for ME) blocking the view of something else, and dad took and used/ate the greens. How nice for HIM. SHE adores her pickles and olives...has eaten a pound of dill pickle chips in one sitting. Same for big Costco sized jar of olives...hidden by maple syrup jug (I pray she has not been in) and mayo. SHe ate half the olive jar one day and finished it off another. IF she isn't eating the condiments she entertains herself by dumping them out. Same for chocolate syrup. Dad could watch her better, but it is an unfair burden to place on him. I simply would go insane on top of trying to work remotely from the upstairs. Day care would be heartattack in the wings for either of us trying to get her uncooperative self up and dressed let along board a van....or even be taken. Dad has enough of a struggle with her biweekly hair (washing) appt. I currently have a box of fruit up here in the bedroom (going to get a bowl for it). It's just insane.
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Can you put a second fridge (the one you really use) in a separate space such as a garage, and then just leave stuff for her in the one she is used to - buy preprepared celery sticks of she likes those, small sizes in jams, make up jellly or buy pots of custard - whatever she likes. And don't worry if she eats it with unwashed hands, she has lived to the age she is going through sensible attitudes to dirt and bugs not our modern mania for sterility, she isn't going to "catch" something provided you keep her food stash fresh. Good luck.
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gdaughter Feb 7, 2021
One of my biggest regrets now, not having had a crystal ball, is that when we got the new fridge about a year ago, we had them take the old one away for recycling....if I'd known I would have found a way to make room in the garage or laundry room as environmentally inefficient as it would be. In the end it is my father who is the problem refusing to lock her out of the kitchen which is the easiest path to take and then allow her full access to the mini fridge in the family room. I'm not worried about HER and her germs and unwashed hands and unclean mouth as I will touch and eat nothing at risk of her having been in it....but I worry about me, and about blatant ignorance of food safety and things being left on the counter. I know about food safe handling and it makes me insane!
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I think that I would be finding locking bins for the fridge. Then they can have access and not be able to spoil or eat your food.

Does dad buy similar items for them that you have on hand? If not, I encourage you to have him buy those items. They obviously enjoy them and it would keep your food safe.

As far as laying juice down and having a leak can I recommend buying some mason jars. They seal well enough to avoid leaks and come in so many sizes that you can do serving sizes, if you wanted. 4oz to 64oz are readily available at any Tractor Supply or Walmart, even hardware stores carry them, then of course you can order them. The plastic ones are pretty handy as well but, I have never laid them down because of the round shape.

If you are planning on locking the fridge, we bought the covered wire rope, .38 cents a foot and the clamps to create circles at the ends and used a keyed padlock. It cost less then 15.00 all together and worked great. We were camp hosting and did not want to worry about our food being tampered with or stolen as the full size fridge sat outside. We were also worried about clever critters finding a way in. Use plastic hooks to have a place for the wire rope to hang when you open it, one for each end, chasing the wire rope was the most frustrating part, until we created a place to hang the ends on.

Another thought, is it possible to put the small fridge next to the big fridge? Then the habit of going to the fridge is not changing the location so dramatically, maybe on the counter next to the fridge. In my dads AL room we put his nightstand on top of his dresser and put the little fridge on top of the nightstand, this was all secured and he loved that he could see everything without having to bend over.

Best of luck finding the best solution.
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Most of the locks I see on Google search (haven't read much detail) are similar and appear to be adhered to the door with some kind of adherent (mostly stickums?) Would she be able to remove these? At some point when no longer needed, it may damage the surface of the fridge to remove them. If it isn't a concern to leave them on or damage the surface, then I would make sure the "arms" that are locked together are some kind of metal, not just skinny cables, even if steel (I've looked at the images for 2 of them, but the majority of the images have the skinny cables.) One seems to be thicker (says heavy duty aircraft cable.)

I suggest this based on your comments about what she has managed to do. The skinny cables could likely be cut if she gets her hand on any tools, like tin snips. Scissors and knives probably wouldn't work, but she could hurt herself instead!

I saw one interesting one, until I read the one comment - it uses a strong magnet with a cipher lock, but the comment said the nurses got around it by unplugging the unit! IF the outlet was out of reach, it could work, but it was also about $200.

There was also mention of bungee around the fridge - same deal, she could end up cutting that, HOWEVER, you could put a chain around it with a lock.

That said, you mentioned using combination locks, no keys needed, if dad can find them. If not, you could buy more, assuming it would fit on the various options out there.

This site lists a few (it includes child safety latches, so ignore those):
https://smartlocksguide.com/best-refrigerator-lock/

Interesting that the top one listed is the one I mentioned above, with the aircraft type cable. It uses a padlock, with key, but I wouldn't rule it out. Site also has a nice looking cipher one that uses batteries (posted Q on their site to determine if the batteries are not accessible when locked, so mom and pop can't take them out.) Nice feature is it automatically locks when the door closes. Not so nice is the price. Part of the reason it's so expensive is it has tracking and a lot of features you shouldn't need.

To avoid issues, I wouldn't give pops access. If the mini-fridge isn't big enough for the two of them, get a second mini-fridge - smaller, so easier to place it than another full size fridge, but should give them enough room for all the food they need (esp if some food in the main fridge is used to prepare meals for you and them.) I wouldn't trust him to lock up after he's done. If you give him access, then all this is for nothing!

Final thought: If they are not going to have access to the fridge, is there any reason they need access to the kitchen at all? It would be much easier to install a special lock (you had a deterrent, so there is a door, right?) on the door, perhaps a cipher lock, no key needed (just don't give the code to pop!) If they need utensils or paper products (napkins, plates, etc), put a cabinet in the family room. You could even put shelf items like cereal, bread, peanut butter and non-refrigerated snacks in it. Needs a microwave? Put that on top of the cabinet. It should be a lot less hassle for you to lock them out of the kitchen.

I was going to post this under the comment about the disposal, but this wouldn't require digging for it, and it does fall under locking them out of the kitchen: Bad enough that he fished the food out of the recently chemically cleaned disposal and they ate it, but I would have MUCH more concern about him reaching his hand down into the disposal! Just the thought of it makes me cringe! Locking off the kitchen would prevent several kinds of accidents while also protecting YOUR foods, fridge, freezer, AND dry goods!!! Without locking all doors up (to protect fridge and freezer), you'd need 2 lock sets, more for cabs. So while cipher locks cost more, it would be easier access and with WiFi they can be accessible with your phone or computer - YB put one on the exterior door of mom's condo and could check/lock from his home.
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gdaughter Feb 6, 2021
Wow...you gave me so much to think about I think I need a nap! So you're right about the adhesive pads to stick these babies on, and a number claim minimal or no damage in removing them. I think we have the one you mentioned with the aircraft cable and I can attest to how well those worked on our garbage and recycle bins in the garage...we ultimately locked her out of the garage, but prior things were being thrown out that shouldn't be...everything from hearing aids to mail to expensive container lids...It has also crossed my mind that if dad has the code he will forget to lock up which is a huge concern. But if I am the only one then I would have to be up before them to UNlock the damn kitchen and that will disrupt my sleep which is badly needed. I am hoping today's episode will have bothered dad enough that he will finally consent to locking the kitchen doors: Seems mom's antics yesterday of consuming jam out of the jar with a serrated knife (no injuries) and apparently finishing off the bottle of bbq sauce, resulted in her per dad "having a very busy morning...she crapped all over the living room" Suffice to say his efforts at clean up were pathetic so I have that to look forward to....and he left the chair (upholstered).
I do not have a smart phone and don't need or want to deal with locks on the phone in addition to everything else. This is just a damned situation. LIke the idea of the individual servings for juice etc, but then that would take up room in the mini fridge and in the big one again she would have access. In fact she has dumped so much out, that is a real possibility as well. I need to take time to see how things would work if I remove a shelf....
As far as the disposal, today when I went down she had stuffed a plastic bag into it. But not to worry. A long while back we got a heavy duty surge protector power strip and installed that with duct tape or gorilla tape on the bottom of a shelf in the cupboard where the disposal is, and plugged the disposal into it...so to use the disposal you have to not only turn the switch on the wall, but also on the surge protector which is in the off position always...so if she tries to run the disposal, nothing happens. ANd many people are unaware...there are NO sharp blades down there...the system has a name...is it extrusion...but it moves the food and sort of pulverizes it, but no blades to get cut on. WE do NOT share condiments for obvious reasons. SO we do have similar items. It would still be frustrating but getting one of those locking fridge bins might be a good solution for now, as well as succumbing to a massive clean up in my 100 square feet and getting another mini fridge just for me. Thanks for trying to help!
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Hi gdaughter,
Oh my gosh, similar problem but with other family members that are caregivers. I shop every 3 weeks since the pandemic started. They eat the food like it is going out of style in a week or two and fridge and freezer are chuck full. We always had the opportunity to eat anytime but I am too tired to run to the store constantly, change clothes when I get home and because of Corvid have to be extremely careful with my 98 year old mother. I told them I am going to lock up the food. So absolutely understand your predicament. Let me know if you find a good easy lock, I totally get it. I might give it a trial run and see if things improve with the lock. My brother thinks it is crazy, well he can do the shopping, cleaning and changing and put the food away every week. He is funny he sits on the sidelines and dictates and then complains about no food to me. I hide things too, my mothers puddings, bananas, cereal and I have a little stash closet to keep my dear brother out.. My brother licks the spoon of peanut butter and puts it back in the jar to get another spoonful and so I hide that too. We each have our own bread now and told when they consume all their bread that is it until I shop. Hey these are difficult times and sometimes challenging to get certain items. I thought I was the only one doing this. I will let you know if I find a decent lock.
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gdaughter Feb 6, 2021
Wow...we could form our own support group! I know what you mean about all the energy it takes...both to shop and then put away...Get this: icymi, I had emergency lifesaving surgery the end of September...So to conserve my strength and in light of being out and about as I recovered, I have used instacart and had groceries delivered....Well, demented mama who can't get out (we have deadbolts on the doors to the outside front and garage) spies the groceries in the blue bags on the front porch. She thinks EVERYthing is hers. So if I go to bring the bags in, while I am getting an additional load, she has begun rummaging (or stealing) from the first batch. As it is with the hiding games, my energy in the beginning was so low I had to take a break and rest and sometimes get a drink (of water or punch LOL)while doing it, sometimes sit down....So for now while we have the blessing of cold weather, I have the order delivered late in the day/early evening and we leave it sit outside until she goes to bed (usually by 8 PM but of course with my luck on those nights, it will be 10 or 11 LOL). I'm so glad to meet someone who understands...and laugh at you being EARLYbird because I am most certainly NOT, more the NIGHT OWL. I think I may get more room by getting one of those locking fridge bins. I still have one more lock to try on the door, but as someone else noted, we'll still have to hope my father doesn't leave it unlocked...and that's just the fridge...Ideally for us it would still be best to lock her out of the whole kitchen. Of course of late he demolished all of my romaine lettuce as well. It was a bad situation prior, but now really angers me as I am eating foods to stay healthy and help my blood pressure. WHich is a real joke considering living with them, but I am determined! take good care....
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Im sorry but i have missed this drama for too long.......i sure hope you are taking care of YOU and your furbaby! I do have one question tho....why are they both not in AL or MC? You matter just as much as they do and whats ur pup gonna do when you die because of them? Bless your heart, i feel for you 🤤😳 Liz
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gdaughter Feb 5, 2021
Yeah, fridgedrama...could be seen as a comedy drama LOL. thanks for your heartfelt concern, after my illness/surgery I am looking out more for me. I am regaining my energy, stamina and have put me at top of the list instead of the bottom now. Last night dad approached ME when I was captive as I was letting my pup out....he "needed" me to make an appt for HIM at Dr C's. Probably the petty hand issue again, I didn't even ask. I told him HE could do it HIMSELF. HE has a captioned phone and can make calls to relatives he wants or golf plans. They are not in AL or MC because it would imo professional (SW) opinon and lifelong observations and the agreement of other friends, neighbors and relatives kill them. Not to mention the expense. And yes, my being here and supporting them helps me out as well as my income is low and rent in exchange for what I do is a benefit to me. My mother has her however wacky routines and knows the environment etc. So with the dementia being somewhat mangageable, especially now, being here is best. I say especially now because per the surgeon who took care of me the best thing I can do is keep m BP lower. Well, if she were placed just researching, applying, dealing with my father (if he even agreed to it) would be would generate plenty of stress, even more if she were there. This would NOT help anyone. Plus if they both went, they would be separated after 70+ years of marriage. And that is not bearable for anyone. It would kill them both. OR at least Dad. Dad has aging mastered unknowingly by having ME be his new wifey, tending (prior to illness) his every need: although he is capable of going to the store (taking covid precautions) and driving, I had been cooking, cleaning, bill paying, appointment arranging...you get it. He feeds himself, dresses himself, takes care of himself; reads 2 newspapers a day, and gets walking either outside or at the mall if the weather is lousy. He socializes with the neighbors, keeps in touch with out of state relatives. During the summer he thrives. Heat doesn't bother him and he actually likes mowing the lawn (breaking it down to one half one day, the other the next, all before trash pickup day). HE gardens a little. He gets adequate sleep....he's healthier than all of us put together, though he had at one time in his 80's bypass surgery and after he turned 100 he got a pacemaker. You have nailed it though, and if nothing else my pup is my sole motivation for taking better care of me because she is a handful. They love her but he is old school. His deafness and ignorance make him both loud and making sudden moves that set off her reactivity. There is no one else on the planet I really trust to take care of her. It was the reason I told the idiots at rehab hell I was leaving. ANd I was right, I did do better at home. She motivates me to go up and down the stairs and get moving more than the PT people....Thanks for the compassion, it is truly much appreciated. The illness episode resulted in my discovery of people I THOUGHT were friends, not being, but as well good people made themselves available, including neighbors who looked out for the elders. I also have a friend who stopped in 2x a day to check in on my cutie (while keeping an eye on the folks:-). I should be able to retire this year! For the best outcome financially I need to hang tight till December, or at least July. I am currently working gratefully, remotely. Thanks for caring....
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Gdaughter, forgive me if you’ve addressed this elsewhere but how IS your BP doing these days? MINE is sure going up reading about this frustrating and yucky fridge issue!

All joking aside, please be sure to look out for number one. No one else will.
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gdaughter Feb 5, 2021
Oh snoopy, we gotta laugh! The truth of the matter is the esteemed Cleveland Clinic where I was treated, sent me home with a stack of Rx's which I got filled and made a decision knowing ME, in MY best interests, to cast aside. I cannot swallow pills easily, and having to take them created MORE STRESS. SO I said to myself, you know what? The MOST important thing is that I am and stay ALIVE. YEs, the pills COULD help, but it defeats the purpose if it is generating stress and impacting my appetite...SO I said screw it. TO be sure I have been honest with the MD and said I have been totally non compliant. But I put them in a corner and focused on my own well-being...eating, sleeping, resting, moderate physical therapy....And I'm still HERE! When what I had is usually fatal! I had a virtual visit with the surgeon last week. He did not yell or bully me. He simply said the best thing I could do to help myself would be to keep my BP lower. HE knows my circumstances. I just learned yesterday that I cannot retire early with a disability. I can retire early as in right now, but the lifetime financial implications (I would get less now as opposed to waiting till July or even better December) would be bad. The MD picking up on my personality traits no doubt also advised me not to become obsessed with taking BP readings. Once a week is what they usually suggest, in the AM.
To that end I now have index cards with foods high in potassium and magnesium which help with BP to have on hand when doing a grocery list to be delivered or a quick pop into the store. And like a miracle, our local grocery that I favor just announced a new program focusing on food as medicine, with access to a dietician and other good info! Coincidentally, I latched on to some articles last night related to Eating Well magazine, along with recipes with foods that help with BP,...especially watermelon. Lycopene found in red and pink foods is especially beneficial....they even a few years back published a high BP diet/menu which I printed off. So I hug my little love, and am hanging tight. Trust me I do not want a repeat of what happened or to ever be a hospital patient again. Thanks for caring!
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Loopy Loo, it was when I tried to add to the above to comment that it appears I lost all of my responses...I don't know if you saw anything I had written prior, but I fearfully know the accuracy of your statement...as the end of September, after always being in what I thought was good health, I suddenly felt unwell, was weak and taken to our local hospital, and then taken by helicopter to the Cleveland Clinic having been diagnosed with a dissection of the aorta...which is almost always fatal. SO i am inspired by my survival to take better care of ME to be here for my pup who needs me to be her mom especially. IF not for the elders as well. In my case it is feasible that I had high blood pressure as a contributing factor, and yes, very recently in talking with the surgeon as well as his nurse, I learned just how close to dead I was ...getting me to surgery quickly saved me and I was also at a place where they have many experts and knowledge of the condition....
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No lock is going to work if her husband (your father?) refuses to cooperate with the idea and allows her access anyway, the chain and padlock is by far the simplest and most inexpensive solution and you have already shot that one down. Bottom line is that you can't change other people and you most definitely can't reason with dementia, the solution has to be something that you can accomplish on your own.
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gdaughter Feb 4, 2021
An accurate assessment if ever there was one. In fact cwillie, my sibling suggested "threatening" agent 103 that I would no longer cook for them if he would not cooperate with the plan of the lock. I took it as a compliment to my cooking which is not professional by any means, but adequate and certainly better and healthier than frozen ( although the frozen have theier place as it allows him to feed himself and my mother and I swear to you the sodium and nutritional value is far better than the garbage I was served in the rehab I was in for 2 weeks!)
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For the fridge, I went to the craft section of Walmart and found a metal chain. The links are about 1/3 to 1/2 inch circles. I put the chain through the handles of the fridge (I have the 2 door type fridge) and put a small lock through the chain links.

For cabinets, I went to the baby section where they sell child proof locks and bought the best ones available.
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gdaughter Feb 4, 2021
Regrettably I have heard this before, but we have a single handled door fridge, with the handle to one side. Someone has also mentioned putting a bungee cord (with a lock) all the way around. Cupboards as yet are not a problem (shelf stable items more easily hidden or put elsewhere).
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I tried googling Refrigerator locks and several came up.

It was interesting that your dad isn’t bothered by moms fridge dives. I wonder if it’s because he’s better rested mentally than you are? Since you probably do all the worrying for the family I’m thinking.
My SIL once said when her three kids were teens that she had to put a lock on her pantry. I thought that was bizarre until I saw that her pantry was full of junk food that they were all addicted to.
Sugar is a powerful pull.

My DH aunt, 94 with dementia, would throw food away very often a few years ago. It was one of her earlier signs of dementia. She would buy several boxes or packages of food, say they didn’t taste right to her, then throw them all away. She liked hanging out at the grocery. It gave her a reason to go back sooner I suppose. Or she would make a roast and decide something was wrong and throw it away.
She never goes into the fridge at all these days so hopefully this will be a passing phase for your mom.
Perhaps you could offer her a couple of snacks during the day that included some fat to be more satiating. . Like yogurt and fruit. Or peanut butter and apples, pears or celery. That just in case she is actually hungry.
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gdaughter Feb 4, 2021
You raise some good points. Thank you. Dad is in his own little world. He eats, sleeps, reads, watches the news and gets his exercise in by either walking or going to the mall to walk (he drives) or in nicer weather he loves to mow his lawn and tend to the yard etc. Yes I am sure he has more patience and better coping skills being that he gets his meals and rest. YEs, I would think it also possible taste changes and there is the draw of the sweet or salty, proven by her having eaten whole large sized containers of dill pickles, sweet pickles and olives (did I mention her having gone through a Costco supersized jar of Castlevetrano olives, some of which I hoped to use in a recipe if I felt ambitious?....She also loves pastry and will ever so discreetly and delicately stand by the sink (with a kitchen window) and cut off small pieces of pastry...until it is gone. I am very sorry to admit that as I am working remotely I stay pretty much away from both of them and only make brief visits downstairs to let my pup out or get us some lunch or a snack as needed. So the thought of adding to my list, while it may resolve the issue, has no appeal, but it makes sense and is another good point. In fact I deliberately have at times left something at eye level on the main fridge shelf that she could eat and I wouldn't care about. Sometimes because it is too much a hassle for me to try to squeeze it back into the bin with lock. I am beginning to accept that one day this will end and I will be unhappy no doubt as well, feeling the guilt of how I could have been kinder, done more. If Dad and I could rest assured the big fridge was safe from her, she could have the whole mini fridge to herself basically...including ice cream in the freezer on top of it! OUR local grocery even has some prepared sandwiches and I could leave a half of one of those so i is not another task for me to make one....Not to mention meals on wheels, but that would require me to unlock the door or dad to be on guard for their arrival......HE makes sure to get his healthy bowl of cereal for lunch while watching the noon news...But it doesn't seem to cross his mind to make a bowl for her. She is good about ripping open the little individual servings of stuff, that's for sure. And when she makes a mess, guess what? IT's invisible to everyone but ME. LOL This is much like what is said about dog training. It is the people who need to be trained, and everyone in the family MUST be on the same page for it to work. Oddly enough it was my father who complained about my beloved little pup when she first joined us some years back. He was the cause of her unpleasant behaviors. The trainer came to our home to work with all of us. She concluded "your parents want a trained dog and do not want to do anything toward that goal. Same thing now with the stubborn one: there is an easy solution he just refuses to accept and do, but no hesitation to add to my burdens (clearly all the stress piling up and my worrying and planning ahead to protect them contributed to my illness) by telling me what to do. Broken fridge lock? I should contact the company to get another piece to re-try it when it's clear she will just destroy it AGAIN. If we could lock the doors and put the goodies in the mini fridge and tell her or even put a sign on it for her (I"m thinking PICKLES AND OLIVES HERE with a big arrow LOL) IT could work. Thanks for the ideas....
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My suggestion is to get your own fridge for your exclusive use, put it in your bedroom if that's the only place it can go. Your mini fridge is too small if you can't store items upright, you can probably pick up a full sized one second hand for a lot less than the cost of a mini/bar fridge.
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gdaughter Feb 4, 2021
IF we took a shelf out, things could be upright, but some of the bottles are just the big size and I truly don't need to be cleaning up a sticky juice or punch...The bedroom idea has come up many times by friends and relatives and I inch closer to that. But here's the catch. I'm iin 100 sq feet with a double bed, nightstand, bookcase, dresser, desk and filing cabinet. The floor has some bins for more papers and books. I also have craft supplies stashed in here. It is an absolute mess and nightmare that I hate looking at, but my energies only go so far recuperating and I am not going to kill myself over it.
Prior to getting the mini fridge downstairs we had an electrician out for other purposes. Our home was built in the 60's and things have changed. To update the outlet the fridge is plugged into downstairs (the mini fridge) he said would require rewiring the whole house for thousands of dollars. I am hyperconcerned and would be extremely stressed to leave my pup in here with a potential fire hazard. Yes, she has to stay in here when I am not home (and she can't come with me ALL the time as much as I love her to because of hot weather etc. The electricians comment about the mini fridge Downstairs was to just plug it in and get one of those adaptors at the hardware store if needed. Note I also have to be concerned about the fire risk if either elder is clueless, sleeping, unaware. ANd considering my health, we have to limit the stressors to keep my BP down. Not to mention the royal pain to have things stashed say up here in the bedroom...and the impossibility of preparing food without a nearby sink, water, space. It would be extremely frustrating...but I admit knowing my condiments were safe from contamination etc would be a pleasure. To the end of all this I have considered contacting the fire dept guys and asking if someone could come out and take a look and give me some advice/guidance or reassurance. But as it is such a horrendous mess in here right now, now is not the time. I would be dreadfully embarrassed. Not that they didn't see it when they rescued me when I was sick LOL. You may think another room up here...the bathroom! Great idea...bu the only outlet is on a wall at a distance from the space where it could possibly fit. ANd who really wants FOOD in the BATHROOM? IF it were in the guest bedroom, well the little darling would have access in there as well or we would have to put a lock on THAT door, and I can't begin to tell you how this whole lifestyle gets frustrating and tedious with locking and unlocking...There is absolutely NO WAY for a full sized fridge under any circumstances. I deeply regret our allowing our old fridge to be taken when we got the new one about a year ago before this insanity began. I wish we would have found space for it in our laundry room or garage, though it still would have been massively inconvenient. I just don't think there is an easy answer unless someone builds a fridge with a lock built in or knows of a trick to lock her out that will work. Like I know and said, it won't be forever.
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I’m going to ask you to permit me to say something to you that may not have occurred to you yet.

Sometimes, you need to tell a client that you’ve done literally EVERY SINGLE LOVING GENEROUS THING that you can, and that it’s time to consider sharing the care of your cherished LOs with trained professionals who can allow you to become once again the child who loves them, but cannot supervise and care for them 24/7.

You are important, and YOU deserve THE BEST CARE that YOU can GIVE YOURSELF.

A refrigerator lock is SO MINOR, but definitely SO MAJOR. And you know of course that there are all the other SO, BUT NOT SO, but vexing issues that fill your day when trying to do it all for mom and dad.

The last three words of your post brought tears to my eyes, which doesn’t happen here too often. Wait, I’m actually seeing 5 words- “........there is none for ME”.

But you know, you’re not as well right now as you might have been when you took this overwhelming labor-of-love assignment on. And every day, however much you love them, the unexpected idiosyncratic situations are a little more frustrating, a little more wearying.

So starting right now, PLEASE be sure that there’s a balance point, not just for the refrigerators of your life, but for the whole thing. Draw an arbitrary line in the sand, then honor it. Plan for that day in the future when it dawns on you that there HAS TO BE “....SOME FOR YOU.”
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LoopyLoo Feb 4, 2021
Well said. Just because Mom isn’t wandering or having toileting problems yet, doesn’t mean she doesn’t need 24-7 help. Her actions are due to a ‘broken’ brain, and you know it will not improve.

At the rate this is going, you will die before she does. I’m not joking.
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