Is it illegal to lock a person in a house when they might get out and wander around?

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I haven't done this, but one time, my husband got out and wandered a LONG way from home and was found by a nurse that knew my phone number. I was told that it was illegal to lock a elderly person in a house knowing they didn't have a key or was unable to get out/or someone coming in. Just needing to know, I didn't know this might be illegal.

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Maggie, it is true he wandered from our home at one time. It was after he had aneurysm surgery but after recovery. He just wanted to go to a store. A home health care nurse happened to be at the United store at the same time he was. She had my phone number and called me. He has gotten better and doesn't go to the store by himself anymore. I ask if he wants something and I take him. He does not have alzheimer's or dementia. He just wanted to get out. His brothers had AZ and he isn't showing any signs of it. I brought this up about locking the doors because back then I did lock the doors. But now, 7 years later, I learned from a friend that locking the doors is a huge no, no! I learned something. I always want to take care of my husband the best I can. It does help to get on boards like this one. I am sorry if I led any of you to believe that this wasn't true. It was true 7 years ago. I was bewildered back then, but experience is a great teacher. Nurses as friends are great helpers! He is doing fine and keeping all doctors appointments. Again, I am sorry about the confusion. I like to be prepared for the future. Sometimes I don't explain all the facts. I thank you so much! All of you!
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Fancicoffee7, just wondering back in 2007 if your hubby had a medical incident that made him confused so he wandered away? I have noticed with my Dad [93] any time he's in the hospital he tends to be a bit confused, most recently he had a bad fall and was taken to the hospital, he thought he was in a hotel and wanted to go to the front desk to pay his bill. Couple days later, after being back at his and Mom's home, he was thinking clearly again.

I know we all go through the *what ifs*.... I do that many times during the day thinking about my aging parents. I have to keep telling myself I am worrying and losing sleep over what ifs that might never happen. It's a hard thing to break.
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Back in 2007 he wandered away, but he hasn't done it since. He is totally cognizant right now. He is on oxygen and has serious heart issues. These "maybes", like he might wander, means I am considering the possibilities of the future. So, he is fine now and I just learned about not locking him in the house. Thanks for following me during the past year. I love this board! It is very helpful!
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Fancicoffee7, I've been following your postings since late last year, appreciate all the great questions you ask. I realize all of this with your husband's medical conditions has been quite an adventure for you, thanks for sharing. It give me an insight what might happen with my aging parents.

Do you really think your hubby will wander away from home? Or have you been reading that sometimes people with memory issues will leave the house and it takes awhile to find them? With your hubby using a walker and oxygen, I doubt he would get too far away without you noticing. But I can understand your need to know what to prevent this from happening, just in case.
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Unlawful imprisonment.
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Hi, if the above is true here is what I found out. I live in Florida and my son in law used to work for the county police force. He said that he doesn't remember anything about a specific law that covers this, but it could fall under neglect. (He said that they are trained more to follow up on young children being left alone)...but he did mention what would happen if there was a fire and the person was there alone. He said that APS would be notified immediately. My mother is no longer walking without help, but it got to where we couldn't leave her alone anymore..to even go to the store. We have an alarm on the house..and the boxes light up and beep if a window or door is opened. We knew we couldn't leave her alone anymore when she couldn't figure out how to use her phone. I remember telling my husband that she can't even call 911 anymore if something were to happen. Plus, around that same time, she became much more dependent on her walker, and couldn't get it in and out of the house by herself---a blessing and a curse at the same time..no more wandering, but another sign of deterioration . Here are some tips I found on the Alzheimer's website...
"Tips to prevent wandering
Wandering can happen, even if you are the most diligent of caregivers. Use the following strategies to help lower the chances:
Carry out daily activities.
Having a routine can provide structure. Learn about creating a daily plan.
Identify the most likely times of day that wandering may occur.
Plan activities at that time. Activities and exercise can reduce anxiety, agitation and restlessness.
Reassure the person if he or she feels lost, abandoned or disoriented.
If the person with dementia wants to leave to "go home" or "go to work," use communication focused on exploration and validation. Refrain from correcting the person. For example, "We are staying here tonight. We are safe and I'll be with you. We can go home in the morning after a good night's rest."
Ensure all basic needs are met.
Has the person gone to the bathroom? Is he or she thirsty or hungry?
Avoid busy places that are confusing and can cause disorientation.
This could be a shopping malls, grocery stores or other busy venues.
Place locks out of the line of sight.
Install either high or low on exterior doors, and consider placing slide bolts at the top or bottom.
Camouflage doors and door knobs.
Camouflage doors by painting them the same color as the walls, or cover them with removable curtains or screens. Cover knobs with cloth the same color as the door or use childproof knobs.
Use devices that signal when a door or window is opened.
This can be as simple as a bell placed above a door or as sophisticated as an electronic home alarm.
Provide supervision.
Never lock the person with dementia in at home alone or leave him or her in a car without supervision.
Keep car keys out of sight.
A person with dementia may drive off and be at risk of potential harm to themselves or others.
If night wandering is a problem:
Make sure the person has restricted fluids two hours before bedtime and has gone to the bathroom just before bed. Also, use night lights throughout the home."
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Fancicoffee, he's got something else going on. Is your post not true? He didn't get out and wander a long way from home? You didn't get a call from a nurse telling you where he was? I'm sure not understanding what you're saying. If that was all made up? No problem. If not? Then you're in denial. *shrug*
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Ok, my husband isn't getting worse, he is fine right now. This was just a senario I was talking about. So, at what point do I discuss this senario with an elder care attorney? My husband is totally able to care for himself, he just has copd and emphysema and all I see that he needs right now is a ramp and we got one. Thanx for the info, you are SO helpful!
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Fancicoffee, if I had to guess, I'm thinking that some (maybe many) people wait far too long to do something else. I'm sure people DO lock their loved ones in the house to run errands and make a fast trip somewhere. It's a mistake, but we're only human, for heaven's sake.

Some people just can't get their arms around spending the money for a care giver. They don't realize the money they're "saving" ? They'll have to spend in the long run if they can't afford a nursing home and have to rely on Medicaid. They'll have to spend it all anyway.

Since this is your spouse, I can't stress enough the importance of getting your little behind into an elder law attorney's office to figure out what you have to do in order to protect YOURSELF. Medicaid doesn't impoverish spouses, but it might seem that way if you do nothing. You.Must.Do.This.Now.

Your husband is in a decline. He's not going to get better; he's going to get worse. There may very well come a time when either YOU decide you can't handle it anymore or, worse, someone else makes that decision for you.

Do your homework as quickly as you can.
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Board and CAres have alarms so you know if the door was opened. It helps, but there are alway 2 caretakers in the home at all times. It is tough. My sibling was a wonderer. Don't forget if your loved one is medically diagnosed with a brain disorder, if she goes missing, you do not have to wait 24 hours. You can call 911 immediately. This will also send social workers to your home and inspections, but you do not have to wait if someone with a brain disorder, ask your doctor about this condition.
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