How can I keep my mother-in-law inside the house at night without making her feel like a prisoner? - AgingCare.com

How can I keep my mother-in-law inside the house at night without making her feel like a prisoner?

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You're going to have to monitor your house in such a way that you'll know when she attempts to leave. Try to be clever about not letting her know that you're keeping "your eyes on her."
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When my friend, Beth, who had frontal temporal dementia, and for whom I have POA started to wander, I had someone stay with her and her husband 24 hours a day. They took the key out of the door lock so she couldn't get out when she got up in the night and tried to leave. They slept on the living room couch near where the stairway was so they knew when she came down at night. We used them for about 3 weeks until we found a memory care apartment for them, which is also on a locked floor so no one living on that floor could leave without someone with them who could open the doors. The incontinence and wandering was the beginning of the rapid downward spiral as her brain was shutting down. She was safe and well cared for until her passing.  When she started to wander I was told she was a vulnerable adult and I needed to take care of that or that I could get into trouble as the one responsible for her.  I would rather have her a safe "prisoner" than have gotten hurt or killed by wandering in the night.
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We put mthr in a locked memory care unit which has staff up and awake at all hours. She paces the halls, watches TV, "grades papers.'' After 2 years there, she decided she should try climbing out her window, which was first floor but attached to the parking lot. The staff moved her to an interior hallway which overlooks the courtyard, so if she does manage to get out the window again, she will be in the backyard with a very tall fence. There are motion detectors as well as cameras, so if she disarms the window alarms, she is still noticed.

It is amazing that with the loss of mental capacity, there is still the ability to reason enough to disarm alarms and to climb out windows! When my grandmother wandered, mthr nailed all the windows shut and dead bolted the doors with me locked in there to babysit all weekend - without a key. I was terrified that we would have a fire, as we had one of those giant gas heater units coming out of the fireplace. I feel memory care is much more humane because the residents are given the freedom of movement and constant, safe companions. Please don't lock an elder in your or her own home and leave her there!
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Since my cousin's room wasn't near his Dad's
He had deadbolts put on all outside doors that needed a key. Upon his Dads death he had them removed because they are a fire hazarded. For my Mom I went and bought the child door knob covers. They go around and around so she couldn't open the door. Just met a man who put Christmas Bells at the doors. I also used babygates to keep her in certain rooms so she didn't wander the house. Being a split level I have 3 flight of stairs. If ur MIL is trying to get out and doesn't understand why, no matter what you do she won't be happy. Her reasoning power is gone.
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First of all, perhaps a doctor can give her a good but safe sleeping pill. If that idea does not work, find a way to "lock" the windows so they can't be opened up enough to get out off. I assure you, this can be done. Also, get a special lock and key for the inside of ALL doors which only YOU can open with a key. You might also look into special alert systems that go off when someone walks on them. If nothing works, then I am sure you know what you have to do - put her somewhere safe that this can't happen. A friend of mine had a husband who would wander off in the middle of the night and the police kept bringing him home over and over again - until he was put in a facility. YOU need YOUR rest and sleep if you are a care giver so do NOT allow anyone to do this to you.
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CynthiaSue, are you still with us?
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We are having the same problem with my father in law. He is trying to open windows and shout "help me help me, they are keeping me a prisoner" . Two weeks ago he started on an anti anxiety drug that has helped to a degree. He will now settle down at night until about 5 a.m. If your MIL hasn't yet seen a neurologist, she should do so. You didn't say whether she lives alone or with someone. I can also suggest trying to redirect her- maybe a small snack in kitchen to try to settle her? Music from her era? My husband has called the Weather Station (me!) and I announce to his dad there are hazardous conditions outside an no one is allowed on the roads. Best of luck to you.
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I understand, but my mom DID have severe dementia and had no idea where she was. For her to get out of the facility somehow would have been tragic and disasterous. I had an uncle who had dementia and years ago, escaped from his house and was found miles away wandering down railroad tracks. The second time mom cut her ankle monitor off, we had a Care Conference meeting at the NH and decided she was ready, for her own safety, for the Alzheimer's Unit. It was a small unit and she was much happier there than in the general population. 
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Huge mom I say good for grandma. i can't tell you how many times I would have liked to cut the wires on the bed alarm when I was in the hospital. The only good thing was that someone came running much faster than if you pushed the call button (and I don't have dementia)
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I agree with all the other posters. Padlocking the doors is not a solution,whether she lives alone or not. However, at this point, her safety is more important than her feelings. If she becomes anxious, she may benefit from anxiety meds. I'd also ask her doctor if he/she thinks your MiIL may be experiencing Sundown symptoms, which means she becomes upset when darkness falls. BTW, if you do opt for an alarm, make sure she is not crafty enough to disarm it. My mom had 2 ankle monitors in the nursing home and she managed to cut both off.
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