Mom has Alzheimer's. The AL facility we moved mom to recently said cameras are not allowed due to state law. However, other local facilities allow them in private rooms, stating they have nothing to hide.

I've had difficulty finding info online but from what I can gather, some states have specific laws to allow them while other states have no law at all regarding the cameras and it's up to the facility whether to allow them.

Mom is in a private room in a facility that is self-paid at 5k per month. We feel that we should be able to look in on Mom. We've been told a few things that are concerning and need a little piece of mind. I know they do their best, but no facility is perfect.

Would anyone have specific knowledge about Tennessee laws? I'm getting the impression TN just doesn't have a law either way.

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You might find some useful information on these links.

The first site (about security and home alarms) connects to a few Tennessee laws that made me think you can’t legally conceal a camera but that the charge is a misdemeanor and the loss of the camera UNLESS you tried to actually use the footage against someone and then it could be a felony for mom??

The second link is from the Tennessee Bar Ass. covering seniors. THE LEGAL HANDBOOK FOR TENNESSEE SENIORS

What does her ALF contract say? It may not mention cameras per se but what rights does she have and what rules has she agreed to that prohibit the use of cameras?

MEANWHILE, make yourself a checklist to run through each time you visit mom. You know what’s important to you.
When I visit my aunt (in her home) I check on medications, bp/pulse/nurses notes/ weight/ visual body scan (put lotion on arms, legs, back, feet (places not always visible. Keep an ongoing inventory. Take Photographs with your cell phone. You can do these things in a few minutes and after awhile you will notice anything amiss.
Have a list of the staff that tend to her and call them by name so you help mom to identify them. Perhaps there is a work schedule available to you that lists the names.
Nurses. Cleaning staff. Any others who come in. Since you are there so often you should be able to get to know them, the routine and the quality of care. Of course you will want to make mom feel safe and secure so watch not to not let your anxiety increase hers. I use cameras at my aunts home. My intention is to make sure she is up and about and that I know the visitors or helpers coming and going. I know if someone wanted to do her harm or steal from her the cameras wouldn’t prevent that.

My cameras are Not hidden and are intended as a visual notice that this person is cared for. No one has ever complained and in fact some workers have told me that they think it is a good idea for the cameras to be there. They have really been useful.

Let us know what you decide, we learn from one another.
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My understanding (not an attorney): TN is a one party consent state, which means only one person needs to consent in order for a recording to be used in court. Your mother, or her POA, can consent to placing a recorder in her home (the AL apartment). There is an exception for video in the law prohibiting recording in a location where someone has a reasonable expectation of privacy and the recording would "offend or embarrass an ordinary person" (intended to prohibit recording sexual encounters) or where the intent of the recording is for "purpose of sexual arousal or gratification of the defendant." Unless the AL contract prohibits recording, you should be fine legally. Any contract restriction would probably be limited to evicting your mother from the AL.

From a security prospective, if you are visiting daily I would considering a non-internet "nanny cam" in a clock or picture frame using an SD card for a hidden camera. An internet connected camera connected to the AL's network can be detected. You can swap the SD card during your visit and copy the recordings from the SD card to your computer to save them. The primary risk with the non-internet camera is if something happens and someone knows about the camera, the evidence may disappear.

If you can reach an agreement with the AL management for a known camera placement, I would still consider using a "nanny cam" just because people are more likely to forget it's there (and maybe only management will) with security encryption of the camera feed (not just encryption in the internet stream to the viewing app). If you don't care about hiding the camera, ring has some good options with good security.
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I would call the local police and ask them.

I would bet they know or they could find out, because it is something they would be called to address if it was illegal.

I would put one up even if the AL said no, because I think that you know if you should be concerned about staff actions and them saying no, tells me that they know what your concerns are and don't want you to verify concerns with proof.

I would place it in an inconspicuous area to avoid detection by staff.
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Suzie, is there something going on in the Assisted Living that warrants the need of a camera?

I would be afraid said camera would be hacked and somewhere on the internet would be people watching your Mom in her daily routine, such as dressing, and if she wears Depends type garments her being changed. Just a thought.
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SuzieBB Nov 2019
Thank you for your response. We do have concerns about a few things Mom has said to us as well as things we have noticed from staff. However, we are aware that cameras in rooms also serve to prevent some problems and makes everyone safer. Regarding camera security, I agree that this is important. I believe in using higher quality cameras from better brands brands that offer regular security updates. A lot of people just buy whatever is cheap, especially generic white-label cameras on Amazon. That's an invitation for trouble. Regardless, I'm interested in knowing what the law says. It seems very vague, unfortunately.
And to clarify, we visit Mom almost daily. Having a camera in the room will not replace that.
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