My MIL who has mid-stage Alzheimer's recently moved in with us and I'm wondering if she can be left alone for short periods of time?


She hasn't shown any signs of wandering during the day, but there have been a few incidents at night (couldn't find her way back to bed after going to the bathroom ... though her bathroom is in the bedroom ... she ended up wandering the house opening doors until she woke us up... we are working on alarming her door so we know when she is wandering at night). I am wondering if it is safe to leave her at home for a few hours at a time while I run errands, etc. I can usually take her with me but sometimes she doesn't want to go and gets mad when I say she has to.... her response has been "Well what could I possibly do?!" .... my response to that "We don't know, that's the problem".

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I'd consider what could happen if she's left alone. Even though she may not think that it's necessary, her judgment can no longer be the guiding factor, since it is now impaired. She could depart from her normal ways and allow a stranger inside, give away personal information on the phone, call 911 for no real reason, panic and not leave the house in case of fire, leave the house for some unknown reason. A delusion can occur at any time and frighten the patient. We had a friend who thought loud children were in his house. He ran outside to evade them, fell and fractured his hip and never recovered.

I tired it a first with my LO, until we could get her into AL, but, it's very stressful. I would attempt to get her supervision in the home or take her somewhere, when you can't be there.
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Thanks for all the responses! I wasnt sure about posting here but that makes me feel a lot better...

KatieKay... that is what I am thinking also... just because she hasn't in the past doesn't mean she won't!
Freqflyer.... my husband did some research and was able to find door alarms that he will install into the door frames ... the alarm will be silent to her but will send an alert to our cell phones. We do have a nightlight by her bed but it is LED and, as you said, probably not bright enough. I'll get a few of the brighter ones!

As igloo572 suggested, I am looking into several different programs at local churches. The problem I foresee with that is her reluctance to be seen as someone who needs "babysitting" or "day care". She has been living alone in FL since her husband died in 1993 and she prides herself on being very independent. This has been quite a blow to her pride. She thinks she should still be able to live alone even though she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Although we had noticed that she had some mild memory issues in the last few years we didn't know how bad it was until my brother in law went to check on her situation last March. She had been neglecting her finances and her health care, her friends wouldn't ride with her when she drove anymore, and he felt like he needed more time to evaluate her so her took her home with him to ID. His wife helped her get caught up on her health care needs and they had her memory issues evaluated. It was just confirmed in June that she has Alzheimer's. She stayed with them until October and then came to stay with us in OK. The original thought was that she would stay at both houses in turn... maybe every six months. We haven't made any definite plans about that yet... and although that may not be the ideal situation, I think we are all hoping to be able to share the responsibility of caring for her and keep her out of a care facility for as long as possible.
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HappyDays, I was curious about alarming your Mom's bedroom door. Will it be an alarm that only rings in your bedroom? You don't want something that will startle your Mom.

Do you have night-lights in Mom's bedroom and her bathroom? If not, that might help guide Mom to her bathroom. Now a days it is hard to find those really nice clear bright night-lights as everything seems to be LED or whatever, and they are pretty dim. The night-light in my own bathroom is bright enough so that I don't need to turn on the regular lights.

As for leaving Mom at home alone, do you live near an adult day-care center where Mom could go once a week, that way you can run all your errands that day, and whatever else you need to do.
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As this is all new for everyone, I’d try to get her into a 2 day a week senior day program. Whether full day like at a PACE center or long lunch & activity program done at a local church/ community organization. Make that a goal to start for January, 2018.

I’m guessing that mil moving in was done without much planning???
So what’s the backstory on the situation? There’s oodles of insight and experience on this site if we have a better idea of what your up against.
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Even if she doesn't currently wander, that can change at any time and she can start. Also.. what about turning the stove on, or the water and leaving them on, or panicking because no one is home and she cant remember why.

I used to rely on cameras for my parents in between caregivers, and turned the electrical appliances off at the breakers.. I really couldn't leave them with no oversight at all though.. not for very long.
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