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We have brought our mother home from a facility because we couldn't bare not being able to see her at this time in her life. She requires 24 hour care, part of which is ensuring she doesn't do something dangerous to herself or us. We are two siblings and one of us has to constantly be here (or another caregiver). We have learned that to not have a safety plan is considered Neglect and Abuse of the elderly by Adult Protective Services (APS). Mom has macular degeneration and has extremely low vision. I've heard people do things in the kitchen like taking the knobs off the stove, however I'm stumped on the microwave and anything else that can make the kitchen safer for just making a sandwich (which she can still do). She has started to lose her sense of place, even though she had lived here for 15 years. We are afraid that it won't be long before she starts wandering and perhaps leave the house and get lost (although she tried to go out in the front last week and couldn't figure out how to use a simple door lock). Should we put additional locks on all the doors that actually locks her in? It sounds like a fire hazard problem, however she admits the only thing she would know to do with a fire is call 911 (which is a dream because she can't figure out how to work a phone). We also have 4 indoor cats that can absolutely never go outside. She showers and has a good shower chair and slip mat and a throw rug on the floor. Is there anything else to be done in the bathroom? She doesn't typically use a blow dryer, but there are some in the house she might find when nobody was looking. We have complete hardwood floors with no rugs to catch a toe or her roller. She has many medications that we keep in my sister's room (for convenience sake), however Mom has been known in the past to take every single pill in a 7 day pill minder. The pill box mystifies her and when we help with that day's med time she asks what she is supposed to do with the pills and we have to say "swallow them." We both have our own prescription bottles and wonder if these should be locked away from her in case of a period of increased confusion, or even trying to end it all. What about the OTC meds? I'm sure you can see we are a baffled with caring for a LO already in Stage 6. We are also going to line up a medical team to come to the house for PT for a presently unknown period. We have been advised to start with a psychology counselor for her depression, and they will actually come to the house. We have learned it's possible to hire a companion type person for around $18-$20 an hour, but they require a minimum of 20 hours per week and we don't think Mom can tolerate someone "under foot" for so long. Mom is very outspoken and can be extremely ugly to people -- especially anything to do with even a whiff of anything medical. I bring this up because we will be having these medical workers come in who have been around other patients and we have to account for protecting her from COVID. What, if anything, can we do (aside from her wearing a mask and liberal hand disinfectant always available in every room)? If we do end up doing some sort of house modifications, we don't know what it would be yet or whether or not Medicare will help pay for it. Does anybody have any ideas about what I've asked....and even some suggestions for things I didn't mention because I haven't even recognized yet that something might be dangerous? We kindly appreciate any suggestions!

Go to home depot or lowes ask about safety sound alarms or locks for windows and doors. Ask to speak with a manager or someone in that department. They should help... Look online about general contractors or handymen who can help put up grab bars on the outside of tub, and in the tub. ask around. perhaps hospital or social workers or local home repair shop. tell them, it is important for safety.
I think the door and window alarms sell separately or in multipacks. Aunt's place has them on all windows and doors.They are placed high enough out of reach, I think with double stick tape..Once the sliding door pulls apart, the alarm sounds off. same with windows.
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Reply to MAYDAY
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Unplug the microwave when not in use, or use a timer.

put a small alarm system on all doors and windows. It will sound if the magnetic parts separate..

make sure you have insurance enough to cover any "injuries" by caretakers if they decide they would rather sue the estate for $$$$$$ than to work anymore. My friend and her hubby lost their home and everything basically.... I met them in the 6 pack where I put my mom. Edith was a sweet woman.. She didn't need someone suing the heck out of her... She worked extremely hard her whole life. What a wonderful woman she was.... I was very fortunate to have met her and got her as a friend :) She did not deserve to have been sued like that.... people... who knew some could conjure up a lawsuit...to hurt innocent people.... I hope that "caretaker" gets her just rewards. Edith was a wonderful person. Touched lots of lives. I met them around the time her husband was declining, so Edith is the person I was closest to. What a life she lived : What a legacy... Nothing stopped that woman. She had physical issues, and she pushed past that, and worked her tail off.
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If your mom is stage 6 and still at home, or at home again, it's a tribute to your commitment to her care. You're doing so many of the right things for her and your safety. The microwave can be controlled by obtaining a timer or plug in on-off switch. Plug the timer or switch into the receptacle then plug the MW in to it.

Pillboxes are always a problem. My wife knew she wasn't keeping up with her meds properly so she asked me to create a chart showing days of the week and when to take the meds. That didn't work. I knew it wouldn't but that's what she thought would help her. I bought a pillbox with days of the week and morning, noon and night. I thought this would do it. If the box for that day and time was empty she would know that she's taken it. Nope! "It's empty but I know I didn't take it". I wound up giving her her meds.

My wife was wanderer... any time of day or night. After two episodes, one being 2 AM, I decided to buy a double keyed lock. I knew it wasn't safe, but her security and my peace of mind trumped the safety issue. Didn't work!! She couldn't get out the door so she went out the window! Can you picture a 73 y/o grandma climbing out the window? You can't make this stuff up and there's no way to plan for it. You react to something that's already happened in hopes you prevent it from happening again.

Call the Alz Assn or your local Area Agency on Aging to get some more tips.
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Just want to give you a hug
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JoAnn29 is not entirely correct about deductions for home home modifications. I know from my own experience. I put in a stair glide ORDERED BY A DOCTOR, and it was deductible as a medical expense (if your mother has enough medical deductions to itemize in the year she pays for the stair glide). A stair glide does not normally increase the value of a house. In fact, when we were showing my house, we had a sign up that said we would remove the stair glide and fix the holes (as much as can be done) in the otherwise-nice wooden stairs. However, had I put in an elevator instead, that's considered a capital expenditure that does increase the value of the house, so you cannot deduct it. There are lots of examples in IRS publications about medical deductions for things like this.

Also, the grabbars should never be put up only with suction cups if there is any chance they will be used for support--only if they are used ONLY for balance. There are strict instructions on the packages (and in the ads) of grab bars that explain this. To just do it in the shower/tub should only take a couple of days, even with putting them in in a tiled bath; I did this also. Just arrange to have it done as soon as you can.
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Reply to caroli1
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Thank you so much for this really good information. We'll definitely follow up on your ideas. I know that taking in Mom at Stage 6 is a monster of a job, but we had not seen her and could not see her at the facility. You're right -- she is just like a young child. Furthermore,at the facility because she has low vision she could not see to read, watch TV, or anything. The facility told us they could accommodate people with low vision, but they did not. She just sat in a dark room by herself for months and months...and this made her rapidly decline. There is a bit of her left and we want to be there before it's all gone. Then we'll look for other options. I don't think there's too much time left before she forgets who we are. She can no longer remember our names (that just started 2 weeks ago). Thanks again.
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Reply to tbengland
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Medicare does not pay for modifications. Its a health insurance. It will pay for durable equipment ordered by a doctor. You cannot use any of her money to do modifications either because you end up profiting if u sell your house.

You may want to ask Office of Aging or APS if they can evaluate your house for safety. Bars will be needed in the bath/shower. Mom had one running vertically to help her get up from the shower chair. And one to help with getting in and out of the tub. Some members don't recommend them but temporarily I would use the suction ones till u can get permanent ones installed. It must be a smooth service. If tiles, the suction cups must fit on the smooth service of the tile. The one I used for Mom worked great. But always check to make sure the suction is working.

Doors, my cousin put key dead bolts inside his doors. But my Uncle was never alone. They are considered a fire hazard. For my Mom I used the baby safety covers. They just go around and around. You can open the door, but Mom can't. You may want to baby proof what you can. Do not expect your Mom to understand a pill planner. When my Mom lived in her home with my nephew, her pill bottles were put on the very top shelf of a cabinet. I did a weekly pill planner and even that was put out of her reach. My nephew gave her the pills.

At this stage your Mom is like a small child so yes, put your prescriptions out of sight. I recommend you getting locks for any rooms you don't want her in. I would do this anyway if you will be having strangers in the house. Be aware too that CNAs are limited by law in what they can do and one thing is doing pill planners and handing out pills. I think they can remind but not hand them to the client. CNAs are not medically trained. They are not nurses.

I understand why you are taking Mom out of a facility but at stage 6 you have taken a lot on. Just think of her as a small child because that is where she is in her world. She cannot reason, she has no empathy, she can't process or comprehend. She is not responsible for what she says (filter gone) or what she does. Don't expect her to learn something new. You will need a lot of patience and remind yourself, this is not the person you knew.
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