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I'm 20 and i live with my 87 year old grandfather. He has dementia but is otherwise extremely healthy and active. He is always talking walks around the block and to and from where i work, about 4 blocks away. The one of the problems i have is when i'm not home he is contently going into the fridge. I don't mind him going in there for a snack but he opens it about every 10 mins and by the time i come home from work its only 60°F in there. I'm contently having to throw things out. I've told him 1000 times but he just cant remember or docent relies what he is doing. I tried putting a note on the fridge but he takes them off and puts them in front of his calendar where he thinks he will see it. I'm not really sure what to do about this other than put a chain and a lock around the fridge handles. Any experience or ideas?

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I bought a mini fridge/freezer for her my moms room. She likes having her own things and the independence to make her own sandwiches and having control of her groceries:)
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Scotty, You are welcome!
Your heart to continue to take care of grandpa is admirable.
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Just want to give an update. The alarm is working perfectly. When it goes off i can hear him shut the door :D. Even after 2 days he seems to be in there allot less as well. Thank you Sendme2help for the alarm idea!
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Scotty, Maybe with the increasing summer heat, it is not okay to leave grandpa at home. The senior centers and other places have free "Cooling Centers" for elderly to go spend time safely away from the heat.
80° is too hot (the refrigerator was 80°), how hot does the house get?
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If your grandfather is eating three meals a day and a couple of snacks a day, I am no seeing how putting a lock on the fridge. Especially if he has access to non refridgerated food for snacks. If relatives of people with Prader Willi Syndrome have to put locks on the fridge and pantry, you can too,
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Okay, is Grandpa sleeping in the livingroom near the refrigerator?
When my sis was visiting, she turned the refrigerator OFF because it was running and woke her up! Did not tell us, then the refrigerator fan broke.
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Maybe Grandpa is confused or very very hot, and is just wresting inside the fridge. That must be some old refrigerator, like a Westinghouse.
I am guessing that to keep him out of the Westinghouse, you don't put him in there in the first place!
Then, APS will come out and charge you with elder abuse! Lol.

Please let us know how the temperature alarm works, cause how is he gonna know how to turn it off if you're not home?
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I hate to sound pessimistic, but if grandpa is having that much unusual activity during the day, then I would be concerned with his safety of being left alone. He could be doing other things as well that he doesn't realize or recall that are dangerous. Except for the early stage, it's risky to leave dementia patients unattended. I'd look for other options.
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I just ordered a Temperature alarm on amazon
"CDN TA20 Audio Visual Refrigerator Freezer Alarm"
Sounds an alarm when the the fridge gets too warm. Maybe that will work.
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Today i got home and the fridge was 80° inside and the freezer was completely thawed. He turned both the freezer temperature and fridge temperature to the off position. I threw most of the food out to be safe. I turned them back to max and pulled the knobs off. Maybe he thinks its getting too cold and is turning it off while i'm at work?
Sendme2help, I like the alarm idea. I will look for one on amazon. Most the time he doesn't take anything out of the fridge and I keep the fridge nicely laid out so its easy for him to find what he wants, as with the rest of the kitchen, otherwise he says we are out of it and i end up buying more :P.

gladimhere, I was not serious about the lock i was just a little frustrated. I'm not that cruel.
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Scotty, You are not that old. Think way back when you were growing up-standing at the fridge door, open, drinking a quart of milk-what did they do to get you to stop? Lol.
Well, Grandpa will have lost his ability to learn: "If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times-keep the refrigerator door closed!

Hugs!
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Put a motion activated alarm inside, so when it opens, the 'doorbell' sound will keep ringing until he closes it. Other inexpensive motion activated alarms hang from the door, use that.
This will remind him. Make it unpleasant to stand there too long. Or, it may confuse him and he will close the refrigerator door to go answer the front door.

Double-check if the door is closing all the way, either by itself or by him. That is a problem at my house. Sometimes it has not been closed tight. Set the fridge tilted back towards the wall so it will close automatically-most have adjustable feet for this-taller in the front.

Pre-empt his need to be standing there long by preparing a plate covered in plastic, first thing you see, has his favorite food on it.

Make a realistic assessment of his ability to be left alone.

Using a monitor, observe his habits-when he goes to the fridge the most. Have a neighbor stop by for a brief visit.

There is also technology, motion activated, pre-recorded, yours can say: (whatever you want to get him to close the door)!
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Be very careful about locking him out of the fridge. If adult protective services would pay a visit for any reason, they could easily translate this into elder abuse. What about buying one of the mini fridges like they use in dorms. Put his name on it with his snacks in there.
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Nothing wrong with the fridge he just stands there for a long time with the door open all day. I put water out out for him in a big reusable plastic water bottle to monitor his water intake. And he has lots of stuff to eat outside the fridge like trail mix fruits. He is just in there to be in there from what i can tell. I might try the ice cooler. I'm also thought of getting a bungee cord to put across the handles. Maybe the extra step to open the fridge will remind him to keep in closed.
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Does he stand there in front of it with the door open, eating his snack?

Household refrigerators really aren't meant to be left open for long periods of time frequently.

I wonder if instead of trying to keep him out he might remember better when he can go in. A big sign saying he can open the fridge at 9:30 and 12:00 and 2:00 etc. (or whatever) might make a bigger impact. Or might not. Sigh.

Or ... could you help him select the things he wants for the day and place them in a cooler with some re-usable ice packs? Would he like to have his own snack supply?

This is tough. It is awesome he is still so independent, but you need the fridge to work! I hope you can work something out. Let us know how this goes. We learn from each other!
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Sounds like something might be wrong with the refrigerator if it can't keep up with being opened and closed frequently.... otherwise restaurant kitchens would have a major problem. Try setting the refrigerator's thermostat to a lower setting to see if that would help.

Is there anyway to keep snacks out on the kitchen table or counter for Grand-Dad? Look for things that don't need to be refrigerated. For drinks, room temperature water works great, no need to refrigerate it.
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