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, and it is not drilled into the wall? My husband has rarely been wandering but I have a fear that he will fall down the stairs when I am not with him. He goes slowly and carefully down them now but we are always with him. Any other ideas? I have thought about an alarm on his bedroom door when he would open it. If possible do not wall damage. Just starting to see what is available.

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There was a door to the basement which we locked much to mothers dismay....putting a gate at the top of a second story was problematic. It has to be tall enough, heavily anchored, lockable or hard to open. We moved her to the main floor and closed off a formal living room to a very nice bedroom and put a decorative outdoor metal gate at the bottom which is hard to open and gets landlocked sometimes. It works for now! Powder room only on main floor. She is accompanied by an aide 3-4× a week to shower upstairs. It's hard but it's working
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Have you ever thought of installing a stair lift or even an elevator? When you get him using the handicap lift or elevator, only then can you rest assured your elder won't fall down the steps. Another thing you're going to need to face is the fact that eventually your elder will need a memory care  facility. You're definitely going to need some help on this one at some point and it sounds like you may have to put this elder into memory care if you can't afford to install the lift or elevator because one day as you mentioned, he may actually end up falling down the stairs. One concern I have about the safety gate is it can prove to be a fire hazard if there were ever a fire and he had to escape. How can he get out if you have a safety gate preventing him from going downstairs in the event of an emergency such as a fire or even a medical emergency? You can't if he's home alone  so I personally would scrap the safety gate idea, especially for the sake of it becoming a trap if there were to ever be a fire and he can't get out. If this were to happen and he was home alone and he died in that fire, his blood would be on your hands for installing that safety gate and the Fire Chief would probably flip his lid and you would be in a ton of serious trouble. The alternative would be to just put him down stairs and leave him there and just put the safety gate across the stairway until you get home so he stays downstairs until you get home but only as long as he has a downstairs bathroom and anything else he needs. I would seriously frown on leaving him home alone with dementia in case he does go out wandering around. I personally would either consider having someone sit with him while you're gone or put him into an adult daycare or even best yet, memory care he'll need eventually anyway
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The safest place for someone who is not safe to be on the stairs would be to put them downstairs or out in one of those granny pods that are newly available. Google granny pods
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I probably would not trust a gate that is not attached to the wall. An adults weight might just push a baby gate down. Unless it is there just to serve as a reminder not to use steps, but you could have a rope or ribbon for that. Walmart sells inexpensive door alarms that stick in the door, but the surface of the door and door frame must be pretty even with each other. Walmart also sells an inexpensive motion detector. These items have a chime sound or an alarm.
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debdaughter: No, not everyone in New Hampshire is rich.
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My husband, who was on hospice care in a nursing home, was seen leaping over the raised bars on the sides of his bed. A few weeks later, he was found helpless on the tiled bathroom floor, his femur shattered. When he died two months later, the medical examiner cited the fall as cause of death. I hope you have some people close to you who can help you make a decision in your circumstances, which may be different.
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StacyAnn- going back to my earlier comment on "Gatekeepers" The website shows lots of examples of what they do (sturdy, good looking, custom made gates for various applications). Good luck.
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A gate is a good idea, but be sure its high enough that he can't climb over it, and that he can't open it himself. There are probably ones made especially for your needs.
We considered putting one up in front of the stairs for my mother so she could visit me overnight but had to rule it out when she climbed over my sister's dog gate three times. There was a door in the gate, but with her dementia she didn't use it.
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I am looking for a Tall top of stair gate that is hardware attached. Do any of you know of a specific one? I am looking and cant find one! Thank you!
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Hey LLamalover, perception's everything; my friend, who's from Manchester, 's parents are in the water business I think and are quite well off; pretty sure she had more than pizza at her wedding reception, but understand not everybody up there operates at their level - sorry
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Going way back to the comment on "Gatekeepers". They are a company making custom, sturdy, good looking safety gates.
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debdaughter: No, my mom did not live with my cousin. My late mother (who deceased in 2014) lived alone in her own home in Massachusetts. My cousin did and still does live in New Hampshire. Mom didn't go to any hospital in Manchester because first they sent her to a hospital in Plymouth, who didn't have the knowledge nor staff to deal with a femur break. So then since Plymouth was pretty far north in New Hampshire, they took her to one almost or close to White River Junction, Vermont. That's right; no one was or is very rich in New Hampshire.The only business in New Hampshire is lumbering. That's why there was just pizza at the wedding reception. I honestly couldn't believe it myself. Sorry about your mom and dad.
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Llamalover, well, I'm glad to find out your cousin did at least get your mom an ambulance; I was really worried thinking she had just trotted off to her son's wedding leaving your mom just laying in that trailer; guess have never been in on that aspect of the wedding after the reception; basically none of my side of the family went to son's wedding, since they just kinda up and did it the way they did, so after the reception her side may have done something like that but nobody to on our side so never knew that, so may be something need to be prepared for for the next one but I'm still confused; I thought your mom was out of state for this wedding so didn't think she lived with this cousin...but whatever I'm understanding about all that, at least that time she did get her to the hospital before she left her, so guess I don't really have that much of a problem with that, since, at least if they were even close to the way dad's hospital took care of it, they took care of her and hey, at least they plane stuff didn't like did for a friend of mine and delay for a whole day; I guess I'm saying I just didn't count on there being anything at the house; I just counted on the hospital cafeteria and guess just kinda almost surprised she wasn't in Manchester, but then the closest other hospital to mom wasn't that far either; that's how far they wanted to send her to where there was a doctor to take care of her. I can understand; on the way to my dad they told me - now wording is important - did they say he was in heart and kidney failure or that they had failed but at the time, and this wasn't that long ago, just 4 yrs., I took it they had failed - as in completely, isn't that what failure means - well, guess not, like you failing a test doesn't mean you made 0 but at the time, yes, with him, and that situation I was out of my mind with worry about him, too, but I actually managed to avoid a speeding ticket that time, even with it being so late when I got there or maybe that's why I was so late, who knows - . And, no, mom's doctor didn't take care of her and he wasn't in that town much longer, either, but then they didn't even have that. Sounds like your cousin's son's wife's family wasn't in much better shape if all they had was pizza for the reception; I could see your cousin doing that for the rehearsal food; we just had sandwiches for ours and they could have afforded more; they just hadn't ever been through it before so had no idea, either, plus they were out of state so didn't really know what to do but the reception unless - and was going to give a pass for being so long ago but they were doing more than that here then but maybe not everybody; I can remember when you didn't have a meal or even much of anything to eat, basically just the cake, at the reception, so maybe they thought they were doing something to have pizza. Having a place to get dressed wasn't the issue, at least I didn't think, just didn't know we were handling getting to the wedding the way it was done - hey, like said, I was just along for the ride! technically, the hip fracture wasn't what did mom in; if anything there related would have been more the surgery so I do somewhat understand her doc's attitude re her having it before; I think he was concerned along those lines as well but still think you have to consider quality of life; she was in excruciating pain so then when she fractured it, what are you going to do? but...and, again, these docs didn't want this done, either, but, again, what are you going to do re quality of life; her eye, as far as the blisters, healed up from the bandage contact lens but she still couldn't see any better than before, like she thought she was going to be able to; she didn't realize they weren't even concerned about that so then when she'd gotten well from that and they told her they weren't/couldn't do any more for her, she was just devastated but this was a retinologist and what she had was a cornea issue and he knew that and actually said - not sure what I think about this - that he does normally go ahead and take care of that as well but he just wouldn't - or couldn't, since he wasn't actually a cornea specialist and her situation was so complicated - for her but the thing is the practice he worked in was in with the cornea doc but the thing is he was fairly new and didn't know that, but shouldn't he have or tried to find out? oh, just turned into a mess. Thank you re dad; so did your mom pass in 2012?
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oh, wow, soloinny, my dad took up smoking again after having quit before I was ever born, trying to remember when he started again (not when I was born) but quit for say probably at least 40 yrs., probably longer, but certainly after mom died we began to notice more; maybe he could just somewhat hide behind her as long as she was here, but he'd had an old overstuffed recliner, actually 2, but one he sat in out in his garage and smoke; she wouldn't let him smoke in the house as long as she was here so he just got in the habit of only smoking out there so still did at least up until this day when he dropped it in the recliner or just left it when he got up and went in the house, not realizing/forgetting, whatever - an old friend/neighbor/'s son passed by from visiting his mom and saw smoke rolling out from under the door - I think it was closed, though that possibly would have been odd that time of year - in August, but possibly not, if it were hot, but then, if so, seems would have been almost unbearable in that garage all closed up but then he was getting to the place where he cold all the time at normal temp - and I just realized that, oh my - anyway he stopped, came to the front door, which I'm somewhat surprised worked, what with dad's hearing and the fact nobody ever came to the front door, nobody that you knew, anyway; anyway, got him out, called the fire dept., and thankfully not even any smoke damage to the house itself, but very scary situation; we still - couldn't? didn't know how? to get him out or from living by himself right then but we at least did get the ball rolling on having someone come in and start living with him. He didn't stop smoking and this may sound just the opposite of being a good thing but he did start smoking in the house so at least he wouldn't be going out and then coming in and leaving them out there but looking back and after having been told about his meds and more about his medical condition feel like that contributed to all this; they told us they never expected him to live as long as he did and be taking the meds he was as long as he was to reach the point of the effects they knew it could have, so...
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debdaughter: First of all, with my late mother's femur break, I should have specified that it happened in 1998. My mother had to still be employed because she widowed at age 46. So she was 79 when femur break happened and her boss said "as long as you can get over the threshold, you have a job here." Well, she was to turn 80 in 2 months, so she had to retire. My cousin got an ambulance for mom to first hospital and then that hospital took her via ambulance to larger hospital. Yes, there was a reception for son of my cousin, but most times people like to come back to the house (immediate family/close friends) for socialization/snacks. But there was nothing to be had...no food. Cousin had just 4-5 years back ended a marriage of 27 years, so she was poor, I guess. But my mother lived till 94 and each time she would take ill, said cousin would call me frantic and wouldn't even stay with my mom each and every time she had to go to a hospital. Now I have no control over a plane's ETA and I can't recall if plane in 1998 was late (most likely, yes). So in 1998, everyone went to the wedding except my mom (of course). Warren, New Hampshire has very few, at least in 1998 restaurants, but I probably would have seen if there was a hospital cafeteria if I knew cousin had nothing for me except one cold slice of pizza. I took a flight from Baltimore, MD to the closet airport, Manchester, NH, then rented a car and drove 2-1/2 hours to Vermont line where my mother was in the hospital. Mind you, I'm out of my mind with worry about my mom, but that was 18 years ago.Sorry about your mom. Wow! They didn't even take care of her, the doctor I mean. That doctor sounded like a joke. Yes, mom was staying at cousin's trailer to go to wedding 18 years ago. They had only pizza for the wedding reception...that's where the old slice came from...I just remembered! Wow, glad you finally got a place to get dressed for your wedding! Yes, hip fractures they say are usually, but not always, fatal. Wow, sorry about your dad, too.
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okay, you said your mom was rushed to the hospital and then had to be taken to another one, where she at least was taken care of then, so now getting the idea your cousin did take care of that, just didn't stay till you could get there, so did your plane run late, but if your mom was at least at the hospital, then they should have taken care of her; they even called in a dedicated nurse for my dad till I could get there and it was her son who was getting married; if she'd stayed they would have had to delay the whole wedding and that was bad enough when I did it to myself - the church I got married at didn't have a place for me to get dressed there, so - now I didn't do this, the people where I got dressed at and who took me were supposed to be coordinating this, but of course this was back in the day before cell phones - we left allowing enough time for me to get there right when it was time for me to go in, not realizing they wanted to be sure I was there before they would start so they'd been waiting on me while we'd been waiting on them, not sure who or when found out what; I just did what I was told, not sure even realized any of this till much later - hey, what can I say?
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hey, my friends are actually from Manchester, so they really ought to know about that town but guess got the idea your mom was still at the trailer by you talking about her being out of her mind and no food but the mind part shouldn't tell me that; dad was like that, they said, from being at the hospital, specifically in icu
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oh, Llama, mom passed away first and it's been over 6 yrs. now, so it's not anything that's just happened but...doc just put mom in a sling, basically did nothing; she had some therapy but never really got back to what she was before; yea, like said, they've changed the system but didn't help her. and, yes, in a sense I do think her hip finally fracturing's what did her in; funny, her regular doc, that that surgeon required clearance from to do surgery before fracture, which she was needing before; the fracture wasn't what caused her to need surgery, just made it imperative, but was too old before, so guess the fracture made her younger? So your cousin called you and then just left your mom? wow, but then guess not much different than call I got re dad but think femur'd be a little different; I mean, your mom couldn't even get up, right? wow. so, wait, this cousin who, what, your mom was staying with to go to the wedding? was the groom's mom? so she's the mother of the groom, just lives in a trailer - okay, well, so did we for a long time - but at first wasn't sure what you meant by food for people who would be coming back there, was thinking, no reception? so was there? is that what you're talking about or even after that; I mean, did anybody come back there? I didn't go back out to dad's every night; they had provisions at the hospital for me to stay. But was there no where you could get anything to eat, not like a restaurant but just a store you could buy something at; that's what I did; I didn't go to a restaurant except maybe at the cafeteria at the hospital; did yours have that? I have some friends here from New Hampshire; maybe need to ask them about that town; I mean, it obviously had a hospital, right? wonder how it compares to dad's small town of Mayfield, KY, that's not much but does have stores, restaurants, and the hospital. But still trying to figure out how and when your mom got to the hospital? did your cousin get her there and then just didn't stay with her there but somehow thought you said no - gonna go back and look - dad's grandson did get dad to the hospital before he left but actually, I know at least the first time - he was still there, didn't leave till I got there although he wasn't right with dad; they'd made him leave because he was so upset; how far away were you? that you had to fly? I drove.
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debdaughter: I am so sorry to hear that your mother has deceased. Wow! That's crazy that they were waiting for her doctor to get back in town.So who took care of her shoulder fracture? I can't believe that they would wait until her doctor arrived back in town! I've always heard that hip fractures can be almost always fatal. Yes, it was my cousin who called at 6:00 A. M. that day and my cousin didn't have any food for people who would come back to her trailer after her son's wedding. Guess she must have been really poor or just negligent. I don't know. But I know that was pure heck for me having to get to my mother's hospital and then coming back to my cousin's trailer every night where there was nothing except one slice of cold, old pizza to eat and I had a migraine every night. There were hardly any restaurants in her small town of Warren, New Hampshire. This same cousin ALWAYS called me when my mother took ill and usually didn't even have the courtesy to stay with my mother at each hospital stay until my plane came in (I didn't have any control over late arrivals). Is your dad okay now?
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llamalover: yes, but in many ways no worse than your mom, but, yes, not sure how he kept from fracturing his skull, except scraping his head by apparently the way he fell and hit avoided that, so maybe I should be grateful instead of guilty since we're the ones who placed the pavers the way we did that caused it to happen just the way it did, even if we did do it for mom's sake and guess to back to Cathy's comment about staying a step ahead, which answers your next question, she's gone now and never thought about rearranging them, was done for her hip's sake before she had her surgery; actually after she had it she never used those steps anyway, but the wound almost proved fatal, at least from the infection stand point, if not the wound itself; guess didn't realize your mom was actually already at wedding location, wow, but at least she was sent to a bigger hospital that did take care of such things and maybe had it been something as bad as femur mom would have been too when she fell and broke her shoulder even though she was sent to the larger hospital in the next town, that had 2, but would you believe neither one could take of it and she would have had to have been sent even farther away to an even bigger one, so they just didn't bother, said they'd just wait until her doc got back in town - yes, he was out of town and there wasn't another one - they've since changed their system after I called and complained; grandson, at this time, with dad, though somewhat obviously things did somewhat change later on as time went by and he took on more responsibility, so even though he called me at 7:00 am about the last goround with dad, he'd actually found him an hour before and had already called the ambulance and they'd already left with him before he called, so he did handle it that time and was just letting me know, but that time he'd called in a panic and was only doing what dad was having him do; it was just my mistake in letting things go too long in waiting on nephew; so it was your cousin who called you whose son was getting married?
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hm, Cathy, they had a bench on their front porch that I suppose could have been placed across the front doorway; it's that step ahead thing; had I been there, I possibly would have done so after the first time he stepped on the porch to do his thing; I'd heard too many stories from them about others falling off their porches and dying, but grandson hadn't heard those stories, for one thing, and another, that whole blind thing because of not wanting to see, so...now, to me, just a caution, dad had also gotten to where he stayed in bed most of the time, until....he got to where he didn't anymore, so, to follow your own advice, just stay a step ahead; he may start at least, if he can, with what you've done, start at least trying to get up again and if he's like my dad, if he starts, not sure those chairs will keep him in, so...
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I found an unexpected solution to putting something by the stairs so he can not go down them. I have a bigger bench that I just put in front of the stairs, it is wider than the stair and railing. At this point he is just staying in bed until he is gotten up 99% of the time. Also he has fallen out of bed once and I have put 2 outdoor chairs backwards (the back of chair facing the bed) on the side he always goes to and that has worked for now. There is a small side table against the wall and they are held there so he can not fall out. Be creative. Always have to be a step ahead. When he locked himself into the bathroom and would not open the door, I took the bathroom knob off. He was satisfied with a washcloth in the hole. Now the knob is back on as he is out of that phase.
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debdaughter: That's terrible about your dad. Wow! Head wounds can sometimes be fatal. Well, with my mom, she was rushed to the nearest hospital (not her town because she was out of state at the wedding she never got to), that hospital didn't take care of femur breaks so she was sent to a larger hospital. My cousin (her mom was the one who left the trailer and never comforted my mom) called me at 6:00 A. M. She also was the type of person who couldn't handle crises. It was my cousin's son who was getting married and she had no food for me or anyone else who would return from the wedding to eat. Very bad situation! My mother and aunt are both deceased. Thank you for asking about mom. Is your dad okay now? How about your mom's hip? Better?
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llamalover, that's horrible; reminds me of when dad fell the first time, except I just don't think I got it how bad things were; so at least somebody - your mom? the cousin? let you know your mom had actually broken her femur? but she just left her, went on off to the wedding, leaving her there by herself? dad didn't have anybody with him and I'm not really sure now when I found out; was I checking with him every day and caught him as he was coming back from the doctor and well, if he'd taken himself must not be too bad, right? or was it not till the next day when he'd called grandson to take him to the chiropractor because his neck hurt - guess so, turned out he'd fractured it in 3 places - but not sure if he knew that because he'd x-rayed him, know that's who found my mom's hip stuff - or if they had at the hospital the day before but didn't find because said too swollen; if so, then how did the chiro find, not sure if did or just because saw/told about the fall wouldn't do anything without him either being x-rayed or cleared by medical doc so got him in to doc and, what, got him some more pain pills; hm...or not sure did they not know he'd gotten them the day before and he already had a regular appointment scheduled for in a few days; maybe the mistake was he had a nephew I could always count on to keep a check on him but he was down in his back but guess I just thought, to begin with, anyway, it would just be that day and then the next and so on and dad had always been able to take care of things so guess just thought he was and would until he finally got over there the day before his appointment and found him basically out of his mind overdosed on his pain pills because he'd gotten what had turned out to be a bad nasty head wound, which I didn't get from his grandson; did he not realize he had that, infected because he hadn't been, at least not properly, applying his antibiotic ointment; oh, maybe because he hadn't gotten it because the hospital didn't give him a prescription for it since you could get it over the counter and not sure doc did either at that point or at least not right then either; so, yes, I probably should have just taken off up there myself - and, you know, until you mentioned, I hadn't even thought about how or what he'd been eating all that time - oh, my....guess cause they were supposed to be leaving is why there was no food there? I learned not to expect that when I did go; I mean, not really, anyway - I tried to just make sure I took care of that myself, for me, anyway. So how's your mom now?
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soloinny, so I take it you lived with your dad in his house? cooking was not an issue with dad; he hardly wanted anything to do with it, at least not by then, but by then grandson and more especially his girlfriend was there and did all the cooking; would your dad not let you? now, early on, before he'd had his first fall down the first set of outside steps and before grandson moved in, when he would get food that had to be cooked from the local free food giveaway place, which, dumb me, had somewhat forgotten about, or at least that aspect of it, because, of course, sorta, wasn't too much of a problem as long as mom was around, he would try, but think he quickly got to where he didn't really and just went back to mostly precooked stuff till he got his housekeeper/aide after his fall and they would cook it up for him. The gate might have been the same problem but at least if he just fell over it then at least he might have just fallen on the porch rather than all the way down the stairs and again, we thought the door had been secure but still not sure if had been locked that night. We knew he'd left the room but thought we knew where he was, or at least thought we thought; like said, didn't know at the time this had happened before, if had, might have already tried to at least install alarms on that door, which we'd just talked about doing after finding it out; if you're there, then I don't see the problem with the deadbolts so maybe there was a misunderstanding but I thought I was given to understand couldn't do that, maybe just couldn't do it and leave them there by themselves and maybe they thought that was going to be done. My dad never actually left the house, though maybe he would have that night had he not fallen and not been able to get up, but he had gotten lost driving and had to be stopped and both him and his car brought home by the police and then another time stopped somewhere not knowing how to get home and called his nephew - well, he was actually his niece's husband, except that niece had died and he had remarried and he actually only got hold of her and she didn't like dealing with him so came, actually trying to remember if mom was still here, so trying to think if she was coming to the house to tell her, but what good that would have done; she didn't drive, but she caught the next-door neighbor's housekeeper/aide and told her, for what good, but just to put it off on them to do something about it but he managed to make it on home but nothing was said about any of that until much later - actually think mom was home but don't think she was ever told, so I wasn't until after she was gone and much later; not sure what we would have done had we known at the time.
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You can install an alarm on the bedroom door that would alert you to him leaving the room. On a different note, 8 months ago my husband (beginning of dementia) left the house in the middle of the night & I did not know until morning!! A 911 call resulted in the police finding him in the neighborhood, cold & wet from the rain. I had a company come and install dead-bolts that lock from the inside on all 3 outside doors. At night, after locking up, I wear the key on a wristlet on my arm all night. In the event of an emergency I could get us out any door in a hurry.
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soloinny: Yes, it was really scary for my mother as she was to attend a wedding that day in New Hamshire. She never got there and her sister who was with her just never aided her at all...disappeared out of the trailer home because she was the type who couldn't handle it. I had to quickly #1 advise my boss "I'm outta here," #2 throw some stuff into a suitcase, and #3 fly from Baltimore to Manchester, New Hampshire. My mother was out of her mind with a broken femur and there was no food OF ANY KIND at my cousin's trailer for me. And I needed to eat because I get migraines without food. VERY BAD SITUATION! Thank you for commenting.
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solinny, so did your dad have a sitting room as part of his area? taking it this must have been your house? so maybe he could be more resigned to having just an area of it, where dad was still in his own house and expected to have free run of his house, with the exception of areas designated, say, for the grandson and his daughter, but not for him to be confined; think they may have even been what led to the door deal; it was his house and if he wanted to go out, he should be able to; he was never much of a reader and I think he even got to where he didn't really read the paper, even though he still got it, or at least until he didn't remember to pay the bill and I think, to some extent, his TV viewing had as much to do with the new way they do the programs as with him; you can't just sit down and see something for any period of time anymore; they cut things up so I can't even hardly stand it, plus the shows are just so different too; he would spend a lot of time on the weather channel but anybody would get tired of that after a while, but, really, he just got to where he just want to sit that much; he never did really in the daytime; he always wanted to be doing something and he just couldn't do anything anymore so he was just restless and yes, he was always turning up the T-stat as well and if anybody turned it down he would get upset but he was also almost always cold, so it was just a bad situation, hence still wondering about that particular gate - though not about the stat
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the one sscoale mentioned with the "secret" sliding lock
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soloinny, how did you keep your dad in his room - dad never had a TV in his room, never watched it past a certain time and I'm not sure even when he started losting sense of time and being up and down if that went so far as to watching TV past when he had; if anything, since he couldn't really concentrate and focus on it by that point, he watched less, so I don't really think that would help and like said, he was no longer confining going to his bathroom in his room and like you said about the sturdiness of the door I think it would have had to have been sturdier than it was to keep him from going through it and also, thought the front door had been being locked; still not sure whether it was or not, why asking about the gate, but not just a baby one but the sturdy one that was mentioned
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