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A chain was used but it is often forgotten to be unlocked and key holders then have aprob accessing the home, especially in mornings (she is still in bed).

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I don't have any suggestions about keeping your mom from opening the door, but I recently watched something that suggested putting a big BEWARE OF DOG sign out - it keeps unwelcomed people away.
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Scary. Our parents often do not understand or have forgotten the harsher realities of our time. Locking them in creates its own hazards, and increases their seclusion. Since you are not likely to stop her from answering the door to the world, one thing you can do is make sure she has something - anything! - to ward off an attack. I like wasp spray with a trigger - not a nozzle. The kind that shoots a heavy stream 20 feet. Not a perfect solution, but better than nothing.

No matter what you do, expensive alarm systems, video monitoring of the front door, speaker boxes, what have you, those with evil intent can simply resort to social engineering, and our trusting parents think it really IS the gas man checking for leaks, and let him in.
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LOL - we have 2 dogs, and as soon as either one of them makes a peep, my Mom yells at them to be quiet (she makes more noise yelling at them than they make barking) & puts them in their cage when we're not home. She can not STAND the dogs and makes sure everyone knows it. I've told her the dogs are only doing their job & she will be grateful for them one day. Sure enough, we had a neighborhood teen break into our backyard one morning (broad daylight, no less) when we weren't home and where were my dogs? Yep - inside getting yelled at by my mom to be quiet! Luckily our neighbor chased the kid off, but he later asked us why our dogs weren't outside barking. That was an awkward conversation....
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We have a HUGE dog! She is quite the alarm system and most people do not mess with that. He still opens the door and tells anyone where we are and then either forgets to tell us or does not remember who they were. And then there was the time he let his grandson in to wait for us. Problem was grandson had just gotten out of jail! Not someone we needed as a house guest. I think a real dog is helpful as is a "DOG" sign and perhaps a dog recording, but ultimately it's all about not opening the door, sigh! Glad I have good insurance...
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My son would only have to blow up a picture of a SPIDER and tape it to the front door to keep me from opening it.! He'd have no problem keeping me away from that door right NOW, let alone when/if I were to lose my marbles someday. ha
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"She welcomed everyone and got very energetic when anyone came around to visit, she mostly loved chatting with handsome men..."
Soozi, your mom seems like she was a smart and sassy lady! Cheers!
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I understand about the locking of doors,
but there should be an alarm that unlocks doors,
in a fire, I do not believe there will be enough time.

Elderly people may be lonely, but opening a door to strangers,
is something that dementia people (like a reflex or jerk knee response) do because they are not sure and suddenly "do not" want to make a mistake.
Ours went from being leary of to hyper mode (O.C.D) to answer the door, this behavior went hand in hand, with answering the phone. She could not eat or stay asleep if someone called because she thought it was an emergency or would get it wrong. Sales people required me to come down, because once she answered the phone, she did not know what to do or say.
Her children used to try monitoring her dementia by phone, but because I was the upstairs neighbor, I was not allowed to shut off her phone, but I always wanted to.
She does live by me now, in a new apartment, where she has no desire to open the door or answer the phone.
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That is a good idea about the answering machine, not ringing but still able to get the message if needed. So, what do we do about outgoing calls, parent would need to be able to access in an emergency, even if it was to call on your behalf? I have the deadbolt inside and outside lock, she can't be left alone ever in the house by herself so I guess we don't have to really concern ourselves about her trying to get out in an emergency, unless of course if the emergency was us.
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We do all of our care giving at home and have a deadbolt on the door that requires a key to unlock from inside or out. We keep it locked and keep the spare key in a locked security box while keeping the other key on one of us. We also keep the answering machine to "Do Not Disturb". This way, people can leave a message but no one we are caring for would be able to know it was ringing and answer and give out info.
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Elderly living alone are lonely. They will open the door to talk to whoever is on the other side. I don't think any series of locks with help because they will find a way to unlock them. I wouldn't attribute this characteristic to dementia but just loneliness if they live alone. They have lived in a country which had much lower crime rates than we have now, so they tend not to be fearful of strangers.

Elizabeth
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When our 86 year old lived in her home, we had this problem and when she did not know what to do, she would ring my bell, i lived upstairs then, I was afraid because she would open for every tom, dick and harry. She would always say she thought the door was for her son.

But now that we do not live in her building anymore,
she does not open the door here, because this is not her house.

If we had stayed, we were going to have a entry cover built for the front to cover the window so people could not knock from the porch. We also thought of disconnecting the doorbell.

People who needed to get in could go through the back door or could call before they came. All possible now because of cell phones.
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Signs didn't work for mom. She reads it, repeats the written rules and then promptly (not defiantly... just not connecting in her brain) breaks it - all in the same minute. Opening the door to strangers as well as giving away vital info on the phone was such a problem with my mom that we now have someone there 24/7. Mom is fast to the door, and she always "recognizes" them - even complete strangers, so if the caregiver cant physically beat mom to the door, they at least stand with mom at the open door and shoo away the solicitors. (My mom wrote a $7000 check to a man soliciting for magazine prescriptions... and never remembered doing it, yet the neurologist says she does not have dementia!) For my mom, we saw that it was not only hopeless for us, but it was very discouraging to her for us to keep telling her the rules about answering the door... bc she was always forgetting and thus failing daily... that cant be fun. So we stopped nagging and now just try to protect her the best we can with caregivers and relatives. Hope you find a solution that works for you. Be safe.
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The screen door thing, my husband opens both doors to let anybody in. I doubt it that a sign of any kind around here would help. I think the scammers/thugs around here don't know how to read. They dropped out of school a long time ago.
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Thanks for warning us of the flower scam...here in CA home invasions have started to occur when the intruders go in when no one answers the door; the intruders assume/believe no one is home so they go in. Peephole and cell phone in hand for 911 if needed.
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Wow Sooozi, I needed to hear that! I worry more and more, much as my mother does - and I keep telling her not to worry. How about a little faith. I intend to relax a little and enjoy life for the next 24 hours. Then maybe I can remind myself that every morning. Thanks.
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Sooozi - Maybe your mother was right! Worrying is so bad for us.

Worrying is NOT the same as planning and taking preventive action. I have the opposite problem with my husband. He's likely to lock the door I left open when I went out without a key. So I guess I have to break down and carry a key.
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Great idea about the Quarantine sign! My mom still lives alone at this time I have convinced her to at least keep the storm door locked even if she is going to open the main door and she does this about 98% of the time. The problem is that she is so desperate for visitors that once she has seen who it is she is still likely to let them inside. Mom's money is protected because she doesn't even know which bank it is in anymore but she is a menace about giving out her SSN ! Best case scenario is that she will FORGET that and remember things that will keep her safe.
She no longer has a normal land line for the phone because when we moved her into her small apt we added her to our cell service and she only has the cell phone now and that helps with unwanted calls but there is another problem. My mom has a computer and internet service and you get all kinds of trash via email and my mom will answer email and give out important information! I have been considering taking away her internet but I feel so guilty about it. She has so little to do anymore.
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My husband has early onset Lewy Body Dementia, and he seems to still be able to do the things he has always done, but cannot learn new things. Maybe older people with dementia are not afraid of strangers, because they are from a time, when people trusted everyone, didn't lock their doors, and invited strangers in. My husband is from a younger generation, always lived in a large city, and went to the police academy, so he locks everything always and constantly checks the locks. So I don't think even in his dementia he would let a stranger in.

We also have an alarm on the house, with a "stay" setting, so if you don't disarm it and open the door it makes a hideous noise. I have a BIG note on the door to remind him to "turn off alarm." My husband doesn't know how to use the alarm and it scares him, but the note always makes him stop and ask if the alarm is on, if he wants to go outside.

One thing that helps me feel safe, when I have to open the door, is our heavy duty screen door with glass panels that can be slid up or down for air, but you can open the main door to see who, and yet it is still strong enough to stop an intruder. Maybe opening one door would be enough to satisfy the automatic urge to open a door, and they would stop at the second.

I accidently discovered another thing, when we recently installed a fence for our dog. He is never left out doors alone, but it seems that solisters see the fence and dog toys and are afraid that there is a dog out of sight that might be vicious, so they have started leaving their flyers in the gate. If you have a fence, then maybe a "beware of dog" sign.

These are things that work for now for us, but may not in the future as we travel this twisty road of dementia.
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After a few incidents of the same here (Mom opening the door to anyone who knocked) I told her that anyone who needs to ring the doorbell is someone she is NOT to open the door to unless she is expecting a visitor. If it's important they will come back or leave a slip at the door (such as UPS, post office, etc.) that I will deal with later, and for her to not answer. Anyone who is welcome here either already has a key to the house or will personally call before visiting. I reminded her that times have changed, and it is just not safe to answer the door to strangers anymore. She knows this, yet does it anyways. She's in a SNF now - hopefully for the long-haul - but if she comes back home, this is one issue we will need to address again. Maybe a health department "Quarantine" sign on the front door would help ward off would-be scammers & intruders...haha! ;)
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Soozi, I can really relate. Mom got excited about handsome men as well, and even not so good looking men. All he had to be was a man, married, single, poor, t didn't matter. I have trouble with my dh who wants to open the door to just anyone. He says "they are just trying to make a living." I have lectured over and over for him not to to do that but he still persists.
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One more thing..you could mount one of the security cameras in clear view with a sign saying You are being Filmed.
That should scare off the bad guys!
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There is a AP article by Jim Fitzgerald in today's Seattle Times (Monday Ap.22)
"Caregivers get helping hand from apps"
Health tools: From GPS devices and computer programs that track a wandering ALZ patient to iPad apps that help ...technology is giving an assist to harried familes."
It is an interesting article that may be of help to some of you.

for the issue of opening the door to strangers...with some tech support, you could probably mount a camera/monitor to capture the image and have it displayed through an app to identify the person knocking on the door
Following a burglary, police told me the best lock to get is the one that requires a key to open both on the outside and inside deadbolt. The danger is needing to get out yourself in case of emergency, which is why I slept with the key in the lock. However, if you have a situation with your patient/parent opening up to anyone, then you'd need to put the deadbolt up high enough to make it tough to reach easily. In any case, you would need a secondary escape route...back door? kitchen door? that did not have that sort of double keyed lock. Most scanners are going too come to the front door to try and get someone to open up for them (thinking of the fake florist scam, magazine scams, etc.) and not the back door.
If you have an emergency alert system, they can be informed about the lock and send EM folks to the secondary entrance.
Also, think about the good ole intercom system connected to the door bell (push to talk) and some cleaver person can use a recording machine to "answer" the door bell? (with wild dog barking in close proximity)
Just thinking!
Good luck!
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I bet someone could make a fortune if they could come up with security ideas for this problem. I guess if a person didn't want to get an attack dog, they could hook up the doorbell so that every time someone pushed it, it would SOUND like an attack dog in the background.! That might give pause to someone up to no good I guess. :)
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Hi Madeaa. I live with my mother (who does have moderate dementia). I have thought many times about disabling the house phone but she has a few people who call her sometimes. I don't want to cut her access to friends and family. I do have a cell phone of my own. Mom, however, cannot handle technology of any kind--new or old. I've tried putting her number on the Do Not Call Registry and that is not a sure safeguard. Robo-calls and other solicitors get in somehow. People call asking for donations and such. I have had to cancel magazine subscriptions twice because she told them she would take the magazine. I try to head off the mail when it comes because she will either lose it or answer the 'call for help'. I do have control over the bank card and checkbook and bank account but things slip by in other ways. Seems I'm always trying to head off something. Anyway, don't have the answer yet but I'm open to workable ideas.
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I told my Mom that anyone who needs to come over has a key - anyone who knocks or rings the bell that has not called first & we are expecting is NOT welcome unless I am home to open the door - PERIOD. Does that stop her? Nope. Like someone above, she has said "i just open it a little to see who it is..." Ugh.
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George2short - if you are telling us your mother lives alone and she has dementia, she needs to have someone there full-time or move her to a safe living arrangement. Hoping that nothing will happen to her is not realistic. There are men raping 90+ yr. old women. Yes, you should be worried about her safety!
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Oh my never thought about the phone, sheesh, I can see that as a real problem if person does not have dementia and can give out information. I wonder if the phone company has any solutions for this? I was thinking perhaps disable the regular phone and have emergency medical alert system, plus a prepaid cell phone with your number only or whomever you want programmed in,so you could call in. I don't know so many issues to figure out.
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My worries are not so much with strangers coming to the door, although, I KNOW she would answer to anyone. My mom's hard to control behavior is answering the phone and giving out her SSN to whomever the caller is and any other personal information. Also, last month I had to block her ability to call 411 for information for the same number over and over and ones that I had in her personal little green book. Our phone service charges $2 for every 411 call.
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I had the same problem.My Grandmother would unlock the door,and just yell out for whoever knocked,to come on in.I heard some one in the house,and went to see who came by,it was 3 men wanting to do a carpet demonstration.She was telling them how she was a widow,and that I was divorced etc.After that incident,I put Beware of dog signs on all the doors,and left 2 of the dogs inside,if I had to go to the back of the house.Afterwards,when she told them to come in,they would stay out and keep knocking.She was just too trusting of everyone.
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That's cute Soozie, yes, my mom can bat the eyelashes at the lads. She is so right, don't worry about things, everything works out for the best, but mom didn't tell you about the 12 gauge shotgun she had under her pillow LOL. No really, lately they have people scoping out houses for the elderly alone around here, police alert throughout the neighborhood, seems they come and knock when they know it is elderly alone, and talk about religion to gain access and then take the poor misfortunate for all they can. I say yeah don't sweat the small stuff and don't worry, but be safe and keep your powder dry, not everyone means well.
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