How to teach your parent with dementia to get out in case of a fire?

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My mom knows how to push her button and walk out the front door if there's a fire . But how do I know she understands that and she verbalizes back to me ... She has dementia and we have been over it but I'm not sure what to do to be sure she can verbalizes this to a dr ? I want to be sure she's safe for the few hours a day she's alone ...,any help would be appreciated

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Exactly how long is "the few hours a day she is alone"? I leave my own mother alone while I go out to walk and run, but it is during her morning nap time and I seldom am gone beyond an hour. Once they reach a stage where they need coaching on how to escape a fire they are in the same category as a very small child, you can not expect them to remember what to do in a crisis. You need to understand the real dangers of leaving her alone and be at peace with the level of risk you are willing to accept.
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A couple near me did not see "fire". They smelled smoke and called their son 300 miles away. He called both 911 and his sister who lived just across the street from her parents. She got them out, both landed in the ER and the house was a total loss. That is reality. You want to experience reality, go to her kitchen, press the test button on the smoke detector and watch what she does. Don't yell fire, just push the button and wait.
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It would concern me too. Except for the early stage, it's quite risky to leave someone with dementia alone. If she can't demonstrate that she understands that fire is a danger and how to get out safely, then I would believe that she is not able to do that. It's my understanding that you can't teach new things to someone with dementia, since they do not have the capacity to learn new things. I would find someone to come and stay with her while you're gone or take her to a senior center to stay while you're out.
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Cwillie, your words about the risk we're willing to take was what I always ask myself. I usually ask, "If something happens, and they die inside the house while I went for a quick drive to the Post Office or to the grocery store, will the police or prosecutor find me guilty of elderly endangerment/neglect?"... "If they die while I'm away, can I live with it, the guilt?".. 99.9% of the time, I decided that it's not worth it. I'll wait until my work lunch hour to do whatever errands need to be done.

Changing pampers 3 times a day, over and over - is a set routine. Yet, dad has finally reached the point that he can no longer turn or lift or sit up automatically. He's forgotten the routine. Now I have to say, "Up, lift butt, turn - no not to me - turn away from me, okay, turn to your back..." It's true that they can change and forget so quickly what used to be normal routine.

If you're worried - then take it seriously. Listen to your gut feelings. What I'm worried about is - If there's a fire, her main concern will be getting the cats out. And if the cats run into the closet and under the bed, she's going to be in there with them, trying to catch them. The cats will be in terror and refusing to come out, your mom will spend valuable time trying to get them out - until it's too late. Just be careful. And go with your guts.
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You are not going to be able to "teach" her any better than what she knows now. Ask someone to help you be objective about her being alone at home for even a few hours a day - it can be hard emotionally and practically to realize and make provisions for when that is not the case. My mom would not have been able to stay in her home as long as she did without a really, really good neighbor - and she eventually had a fall that ended her independence, but before that seemed way too functional to have known or decided she was not safe, never mind my lack of understanding of what was slowly happening to her at the time.
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She is home alone 3 hours a day , I have a are giver 8 hours a day , well we actually had a fire drill pretending she is alone and she really did awesome . I said mom what do you do if there is a fire she stated " I get out " I said which exit " she said the closest " she said I'll leave the door open so the cats will get out ... She sits by the brown door her chair is 3 steps away,,,, I told her Tommrow we do a full fire drill , she is a retired nurse so she really was able to reason out what to do ..... I was shocked ... I think she's teachable .. I'm gonna video tape her we will renew it weekly .. She said once I get outside I'm gonna yell Fire fire ... I was shocked .. And she's gonna push her button her life alert ..... I will see how it goes .. I'm a RN so I work 12 hour shifts but yesi j do have a caregiver most of the day .... I think her dementia is getting worse.. But I'm a teaching nurse so I'm hoping I can make it second nature ... I appreciate all your help and advice , I need to figure out teaching methods ... I worry about everything ... Ugh God Bless us ... It's coming up to my sisters 3 years since her death. So I am highly emotional and sad ... Thank you for listening ... I love all your advice
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That is a awesome idea that is great ! Yes I will do that thank you
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You learn with your brain. The brain of a person with dementia is broken. If her safety relies on her learning something, you need to find another way to keep her safe.
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Just my two cents as everything else has been covered. We have a security system with fired alarms hard wired to it. When there is a fire i.e. when dinner o the stove burns., it lets out huge noise that anyone can hear then the phone rings. If the phone is not answered the call center immediately notifies local emergency services. If you press the pendent same thing happens but they know the difference between a medical emergency and a fire.
You have to work and 12 hour shifts are normal these days for nurses so be comforted in that you are doing the best you know how.
If you can afford a smart phone you could install a camera so you could check on Mom from time to time
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Seriously? That is your question? Rethink that question. How about, how do I keep this person safe when she has dementia and is not able to make logical decisions and follow through, especially in a crisis?
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