I have read about how bad this is. And against the law. But I'm upstairs with her down the hall. I just started locking her in. A slide lock from the outside on top. She doesn't know it's there. From 12 to 8 . This is nessasary because My mom may fall down our stairs is a big concern its 16 steps. And she will go in the kitchen try to cook and turn on the gas. She cuts the gas on all the time. Gas fumes all over. We took knobs off and she will still turn them on especially in the winter to keep warm. She takes good roast out and steaks any food she sees in freezer she will try to cook. My son came in the kitchen the smoke alarm went off she was sitting at the table with smoke all around while some food she put in the oven was burning. She is up at night will go downstairs looking for food 2:00 in the morning. Take food out leave it on table mix strange things together. I'm tired of not sleeping and worries about gas blowing up and her safety. When I do sleep I'm exhausted I may not hear her or know what she is doing. AND also her urine incontinence is awful all over the house. Nothing I can do she hates adult pull ups. She won't listen to me. I take care of my mom by myself. No help. My son is off on Tues and watches her sometimes a couple of hours while I run errands. She does everything she pulls off all her covers on her bed to the mattress everyday. I cannot understand why. Her mind is so bad and I can hardly handle her. My family does not like convelasant homes I can't put her there. When she is trying to open the door about 2:30 in the morning it unnerves me. It's a nitemare. But after a few minutes she goes back to bed. What else can I do???? Even my aunt who is her sister and a nurse told me for her safety and mine lock her in till morning. Yes it's drastic but I have peace of mind for a little while. All of this is slowly killing me. Sometimes I think I could die from so much stress.
Hey - it’s not a crime to admit that caring for a wandering, demented elderly loved one is more than you can do. There’s no shame or blame in it. It’s frickin’ hard!
However, it is a crime to lock someone in a room for eight hours. In this case it would be considered Elder Abuse and you would be arrested. Depending on your area there is a possibility the media would catch wind of the situation and your mugshot and charges would be featured on the local news and in the local newspaper - along with their on-line editions. On a slow news day neighboring states could pick up the story as well. I see stories like yours a couple of times a year, sadly. So, there will be lots of shame and blame once you are “caught”.
Look, I’m not unsympathetic to your situation. I have a mobile 6’2”, 170 lb., 26 yr old man - with the mental capacity of a two yr old living in my home. I’ve been there - through much of what you’re describing. Luckily, certain ticks and phases pass with him - however, often reappearing in time. Right now I’ve got the knobs back on my stove and the door alarm on his bedroom door hasn’t gone off at night in a month or so. My latest problem is him locking the sliding glass door behind me when I take the garbage out or get the mail, etc...
I do understand.
But all that still doesn't make what you’re doing okay. It just not a good idea. Frankly, I find it so disturbing I haven’t been able to sleep since I read your post.
Pleeese - let go of this nonsense that your mother can’t be put into a care facility! It would be the best, safest and most appropriate and most humane option for your mother. AND, FOR YOU!!!
And they are sacrificing YOU to the cause.
DO NOT LET THEM DO THIS. Do you live with your mother in her house? Or does she live with you in yours? Are you her POA/HCPOA? Is she still considered competent to make her own decisions?
Right. You're right, this is a nightmare.
Your family doesn't like convalescent homes, huh.
Well, that's okay. They're not moving into one, and they're not understanding or thinking through the basic care needs and safety of your mother.
You must not lock your mother in her bedroom. If this came to light for any reason, you would be in so much trouble.
But you must keep your mother safe. I promise you, I really do understand the bind you're in, and how impossible it seems.
Caring for somebody with dementia as advanced as your mother's, though, IS impossible for one person in a standard family home. She needs a team of people so that round the clock there is somebody with her to monitor her, reassure her, and redirect her. You cannot be awake 24/7, and see to her needs, and run a house, and do all of the other ordinary work of a normal day.
You're on a tight budget, I see from another post, and you've been caring for your mother for seven years. Okay. So, who are you in touch with? What about medical, social care, nursing or other professionals? Who else, outside "the family," is aware of your mother's situation?
When we need dental care, we go to a dentist.
When we have an emergency, we call 911
But when a parent needs 24/7 care and supervision, then ONE child (usually a daughter) has to do it all, and some people will shame her if she complains and wants respite or a life of her own.
If the authorities were to discover that you are locking mom in, you most likely would be brought up on charges. Mom taken from the home to become a ward of the state. All it would take is a neighbor or even a sibling or other relative to make the report to the authorities. Locking her in is illegal. Are there bars on the windows too?
Mom needs more care than you can provide. Call the Area Agency on Aging for help to find the resources you and mom need. It is past time to find the best care and solution for mom.
Of course you need to sleep. If you haven't been successful finding a medication that guarantees you several uninterrupted hours at night then perhaps it is time you acknowledged that this is a task that is beyond what one person, no matter how loving and well intentioned, can do. There are other options, but all of them involve sharing the load, such as sending her to adult day care which may tire her out so she sleeps at night, hiring caregivers to cover the shifts you can't. It's time to look outside the box you're accustomed too.
Waking up because you're just down the hall? What, at three in the morning when you're severely sleep-deprived? Not a chance; and besides if the idea is that you wake up when you're needed, why not put an alarm on the door instead? And apart from the obvious physical and environmental risks of leaving mother locked in her room alone and crashing around, what about the additional fear and confusion caused to a woman who is already fearful and confused? Being confined in a room you want to leave, and probably not understanding that it's been locked from the outside, could be terrifying for her.
Securing external doors at night is fine - the parallel would be doors with key codes in memory care units. Locking the *kitchen* door to prevent access would be fine (although if the OP's house is open plan obviously that idea wouldn't help). The falls risk on the stairs could also be addressed - not a child-proof stairgate, because, holy Heaven, mother would probably try to climb over it, but there will be other barriers designed for adults' safety. It's the kind of situation that an occupational therapist would love to get her teeth into.
But in any case the main point is that it is simply not possible for one individual, no matter how dedicated and loving, to meet the needs of an able-bodied person with dementia during this phase. The OP must get help - not because an over-zealous APS might decide to make an example of her, but because she and her mother desperately need help.
However I quite agree that this isn’t the best option for her, or for you. For now, I’d keep locking the door, if it works for both of you. If someone does come to investigate, it may be exactly what you need to convince yourself and the family that she would be better off somewhere that can provide 24 hour care.