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My 87 year old mom has dementia and lives alone. She refuses to leave or let caregivers besides me in her house. (I'm working on getting guardianship.) I need to replace her currently non-working smoke alarm but am concerned about what she will do if a new smoke alarm goes off by accident -- she has panic attacks, etc. I am also worried about her getting up on a chair or step stool to try to hush the alarm off if it sounds accidentally, but I know that a smoke alarm is necessary. She fell and broke her femur in September and I don't want her to fall again, obviously.
We don't have money to put in a regular alarm system and she wouldn't allow it anyway. I heard about smoke alarms that have remote hush features and ones that allow TV remotes to be used to hush an alarm, but I have done extensive internet research and cannot find one available that does either that I could buy and install myself.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

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Thanks for the follow up answer. I will just mount it where the old one was and hope for the best...
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They will not work properly if you mount it down low. Heat and smoke rise rapidly. The detector must be on the ceiling or on a wall less than 8 inches from the ceiling for it to activate properly. Your elderly mother should have no access to the device to silence or disable it. I would much rather have an annoying alarm that my mother lost in a house fire. If the things are properly installed and placed, false alarms should not be an issue.
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Thanks everyone. I really appreciate your answers. I was planning on going with a wireless alarm -- I think I will go ahead and mount it somewhere low (not near the kitchen) that my mom can reach if it goes off accidentally -- as suggested by someone. Thanks so much for the input!
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As a retired electrician, I suggest you go with wireless alarms. I used these a lot in older homes where fishing new wiring was too difficult and costly. They work very well and you can find them at Home Depot or better yet at the electrical supply houses. The guys there will be more knowledgeable and helpful. To avoid false alarms, don't put one in or near the kitchen.
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If she is cooking, starts a fire, would she know to get out? Would she understand what the alarm is or just wonder what is that awful noise?
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Have you looked into a talking smoke alarm? Thinking a voice might not be as scary for her.
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Remote Hush is a bad idea for safety concerns. OK it goes off and mom calls you, but she says there is no fire, are you willing to take that chance? She should ALWAYS call 911. We almost lost an old couple here. The old lady called her son a hundred miles away because the detector went off. The son called his sister, who only lives across the street from mom and dad. Sis ran over and pulled them out; the house was a total loss. A fire had started in one of the bedrooms. Neither one of the old people decided to get out of the house or call 911.
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Maybe you'd be better off leaving the smoke detector where she can reach it to press the off button.
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Then I wonder if your Mom would be able to *hush* the smoke alarm using a remote as the sound would be confusing her. Would the panic make her not to remember how to hush it, if there is technology like that available.

When it comes to panic attacks they can transfer to a lot of different things... I know, I have panic attacks so I know what it is like.

Just thought if she moves to a continuing care facility [Medicaid will help with the cost], she wouldn't need to worry about things such as smoke alarms or climbing on a ladder to take the curtains down to wash, or to reach onto a top shelf of a closet.
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Can mom work a TV remote? I'm not sure she's going to be able to distinguish which is which. Is her stove and microwave disabled, I hope?
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Thanks for your answer. I guess I wasn't clear when I said, "She refuses to leave." I mean she refuses to leave her house (that is one of the reasons I'm working on guardianship). Also, we don't have enough money to pay for a continuing care facility, so that is not an option.

She has panic attacks about things that confuse her -- she understands the door bell and the telephone, but I'm afraid the sound of the smoke alarm might confuse her and make her panic.

I really need practical suggestions. Thanks. :)
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One suggestion, maybe it is time that your Mom moves to a continuing care facility. This is only going to get worse as she ages. If the smoke alarm might give her a panic attack, what will be next, the ringing of the telephone or the door bell?
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