She lives alone in a first floor garden apt in NYC. She told me someone flashed a light into her bedroom window at exactly 9:00 p.m., 12:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. so she called the police in the morning. They came and looked around, and told her she should call as it is happening instead of waiting for the morning. A few months ago, she said a man was looking in her front window as she was sitting in her chair, and she opened the door to confront him. That time she did not call them. I am really worried that she is starting to lose it, even though she had a brain workup at a neurologist who said her brain is in great shape. She has pretty severe short term memory loss, so I do not believe much that she tells me. She can be pretty rude when I try to reason with her if something does not make sense. At what point does one bring in a caregiver? She is very independent as far as getting herself to the senior center on the public bus for exercise three days a week, and walks to the grocery. I do keep tabs on her bank accounts and bills...Thanks all!

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I wouldn't come to any conclusions without having a good look round her bedroom and the outside of it for possible light sources. Could be a burglar alarm flashing, could be reflections off a street lamp, could be something like clock hands only catching the light at particular angles. But in any case - don't just assume it's her losing her marbles!

And it could be would-be burglars or squatters, couldn't it. Is it generally known in the neighbourhood that your mother lives on her own?
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I'll make an alternate suggestion - beef up the security around her place. Get a well qualified alarm company to install alarms, with the motion activated lights positioned close to the house so that anyone peeping in her windows will activate the lights. That might be enough to scare the person away.

You can compliment that with cameras that record the potential intruder; police can use these, if the image is clear enough, to help identify the prowler through facial recognition.

Something I've wanted to do but haven't yet is to add sounds to the motion detection system. Something like the bark of a large dog would infer that there is an animal waiting to chomp on a prowler.

As to her solo traveling, I think I would definitely find someone (reliable, and that's not always easy) to accompany her. Perhaps you could use the pretext of friendship and companionship rather than safety.

I'm not sure I'd even consider a private duty firm though, as there are 3 or 4 hour minimums. Try the Senior Center or VA (if she's qualified) friendly visitor program, or see if the Senior Center has a group of seniors who offer friendly visitor companionship.
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Her brain may be in great shape, but her memory is poor?

I think I'd find a way to get a neurocognitive evaluation, which will tell you more about her thinking and reasoning skills, as well as memory.
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Are you in touch with any of her neighbors, who can report to you if there appears to be some security issues in her area?

Consider calling the non-emergency number at her local precinct and talking to them about the reports that she's made and if there are other reports like this. Ask and take their advice about how to handle mom's reports of "lurkers" and flashing lights.

Are you aware of the NYC Department of Aging and their services? Go on the NYC.Gov website and find out which agency has the contract for mom's area. Give them a call and ask their advice in terms of a needs assessment and possibly case management for your mom.
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Thanks all for your suggestions and advice! I’ve thought about the security camera route and may go that way next.
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