My spouse with dementia wants a key to our mailbox (the mailboxes are located in a central area) but we do not want him to have access to the mail. Any ideas? - AgingCare.com

My spouse with dementia wants a key to our mailbox (the mailboxes are located in a central area) but we do not want him to have access to the mail. Any ideas?

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I do not want to say outright "No you can't have a key"...he has asked several times and I am running out of ideas. Usually I say "Okay, next time I'm at the hardware store."

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My Husband LOVED going to get the mail.
What I would do is get the mail on my way in but leave all "junk" mail in the box.
Then he could go get the mail and he would bring it in and give it to me.
If any were to be lost or dropped it was no big deal.
What you could do is make a quick run to the box, remove anything important then return and give him the key. More importantly one thing I always did..I would bring some "junk" mail to the box and put it in there so if there was no "real junk" mail there would be something for him to get and bring back.
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Next time st the hardware store

Hardware store was closed

They didn't have the right blank

I got one made but lost it

And so on............

That's all you can do. I have to be very inventive with my dad to keep him out of trouble and to get things done. You hubs will probably forget about the key and move on to another annoying thing soon.
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You could also maybe give him a key that doesn't work? If you always get the mail anyway, you can just tell him everyday, "Oh, I already got the mail!" Maybe if he has a "fake" key, it will make him feel better about the whole thing, even if he never tries to use it? I dunno, it's a thought. Otherwise, I like the responses above.
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My mother lives alone and goes to her own, and boy she seems to really value this ‘errand.’ So I can understand your DH. I agree that if you can stage it so he can get it out that might be nice. Or, can you set up a designated mail ‘place’ inside your home and have a stack of mail there that he can go through? Tell him the mail people started delivering it to the house again (and that it only comes every other day or something, to suit your staging schedule).  We all get such a pile now, I hope you’d have a stack of circulars, etc.  Ask neighbors for extra stuff they get, to add to the pile.
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Can you always get the mail as soon as it is delivered, and leave a few "safe" items in it for hubby to get with his key? I know, extra work, but this interest of his might last very long. and I never found a sure-fire way to avoid extra work anyway.
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The mail is very important to my mom. We had to change the address on all important mail and direct it to my brothers house. If we didn't, she would hide or lose all bills. She still gets other mail, and we remind and encourage friends and family to send her notes and cards. Do you have a family member you trust that could receive you bills, etc. and discretely deliver to you?
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My mother would get the mail and I might never see it. Picking up the mail was VERY important to her. It was HER job. She would go out to the mail box multiple times a day.

I went online and set up her bills to be auto paid by her bank account. You can receive the bill by mail/and or email. They do not deduct the money from your account until 1-3 weeks later (depending on the company). Thus, if there is an issue with the bill you can address it before they deduct the money from the account. I never found an error. By having it come in my email I knew I received all the bills. By also letting it come through the post, she had real mail to receive. The bank automatically paid the bills so there was no worry of any being missed. Worked beautifully.
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I like the idea of a fake key. You could also say you got an extra key but it is bent and you have to have it fixed. Just make up anything
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Finding a way for him to feel useful is important. It's really hard on people when they feel useless, as even little errands get taken away. People with dementia often realize they're being benched, and feel way more than people think on an emotional level, even if they can't retell exactly why they know or feel that way. I love the ideas to get there first and leave some behind. Also, it's an inconvenience, but consider a PO box for the very important info. My mom did that since there was no key on their mailbox and getting mail was one of the things my dad could "do for her."
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I had that very same problem with my sister who has Alzhiemers.
She would get the mail ,but hide it .If you asked for the heating bill-
It would be the one that was two years old.I ended up having the important mail sent to my place since I have POA .
I had to produce a copy of the POA to the different companies such as heat ,electric , phone etc, —but that was fine .
I ended up having all her bills sent to me.She would get junk mail mostly & that seemed to satisfy her.
She got that she could not read anymore ,but certainly could hide
that she couldn’t read. That soon passes & then another problem pops up.It goes with dementia/ Alzheimer’s
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