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I'm still not sure if my mom has dementia but she started showing serious signs last week. I live with my mom and she was a tough lady before last week. I took her to the doctor and they believe she might have had a stroke and she's just feeling the after effects (brain failure). They were more concerned for her blood sugar levels than her sanity but I learned that blood sugar can effect the brain.


Anyway, as her behavior started to decline to forgetfulness and memory loss I've begin taking preventative measures. I've taken away her old cell phones and tablets to prevent random downloads. I turn off the gas main when leaving the house after the last three fire alarm scares. I've also simplified her phone though not entirely (I'm working out the kinks).


Is there anything else I may be forgetting?

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I find it funny, literally, that your priority was preventing "random downloads". What exactly does she download that you are worried about. ;) Instead of taking away her phone and tablet, why don't you just net nanny it. You don't even need special software for that. Just set the DNS to a net nanny DNS and she won't be able to go to "bad" places. Considering that mental stimulation is the only thing found to help with dementia, I would reconsider taking away a source of mental stimulation. You want her brain to stay active to stave off atrophy. A tablet is a great way of doing that.

A few of the things I've done is... One, I installed automatic faucets. After the second time grandma overflowed the sink by sticking a rubber basin over the sink and walking away with the water running, I decided to deal with it once and for all. You don't even need any plumbing skills. There are screw on devices that replace the aerator that turn it into a automatic faucet just like at public restrooms.

Two, I installed rails all around the house for fall prevention. It's exactly like it sounds. I put rails on every wall so when the refuse to use a walker, there's always a rail at hand. It wasn't that hard to do. I did have to figure out how to make sections quick removable so that I could open up cabinets.

Three, I've rigged the kitchen to avoid burning down the house. Once again, it was grandma. She decided to make soup at 3am but forgot all about it and went back to her room. I woke up to the smoke detector. So I replaced the regular stove with an induction unit. Not only are they safer since they don't get hot, but they will detect overheat conditions and shut themselves down. You can also set up appliances to go off automatically if they detect that no one is standing there after a few minutes. So if there's no one in the kitchen they will shut themselves off.
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MountainMoose Feb 21, 2019
Outstanding ideas, needtowashhair!
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You are so smart to get ahead of this issue!!! My DH likes to prowl around the house in the middle of the night opening doors, cabinets, fridge, turning on lights & water, changing clothes 20 times, opening bags & cans of food in the pantry. Basically, in order for me to get any sleep, I had to baby proof the house: child locks on cabinets, special locks on exterior doors, screen door safety latches on closets, pantry & every door I don't want him to open, tied fridge door handles shut. I turned off the water to all but two sinks. I hide the car keys, remote controllers, & alarm system key fob. The stove knobs have a child resistant turn on feature. I turned down the water heater. I have LED bulbs in lamps that are never turned off. For me it has been very much about keeping him in & both of us safe. Best of luck to you!
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gdaughter Feb 24, 2019
It is SO exhausting to keep up with it all, isn't it?
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Good topic. My wife has mild to moderate dementia, type 1 diabetes, and a whole host of other health issues, and she falls a lot too. We are both retired and 70 years old. My health is good. Things I've done in the home include; Hand rails everywhere needed (bathtub, toilet-side, etc.), safety rail on the bed, motorized lift chair between first and second floor, walkers upstairs and downstairs, and got rid of toaster oven as she once nearly caused a house fire (replaced with a normal toaster). Remove candles and matches (another near disaster). I handle her meds and sugar-level testing and insulin injections as she started to have difficulty and was making mistakes. After her car sat unused for 2 years, I jumped at the opportunity to sell it the minute she agreed she could no longer drive. I do the cooking as she was concocting some pretty strange recipes and also the danger of fire/burns. I manage her finances for her, but keep her fully informed so she feels involved. I run local errands while she sleeps and have someone with her whenever something takes a longer time (like a respite break for me). I've moved items she frequently needs to lower cabinet shelves for easier access and safety. Someone made the comment about baby-proofing and that's a good analogy. Also, remember to take care of yourself.
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You can install a camera system in the home that connects to your cell phone for around $100.00 to purchase the cameras. That way you can peek in while you're away.
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dtgray12 Feb 21, 2019
I might do that.
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My husband was diagnosed with a progressive cognitive impairment over a year ago. I have changed all interior door knobs to be non-locking; removed knobs from our gas stove when I am not using it; hung reminder signs to turn off faucets when done; put remote controls out of his sight when not using them. A few months ago, he “hid” his wallet in a “safe” place and we couldn’t find it. It had his picture ID, bank cards and insurance cards. It was a hassle to replace everything. So, I recommend you proactively get and keep duplicates in a safe place. It was important to my husband to still have a wallet to carry but now it only has twenty dollars, the duplicate picture ID and his medical insurance cards so he can show them at doctors visits. I am looking into getting a sounding device for our exterior doors so I know if they are being opened without having to set our security alarm. I hope this helps and I look forward to reading ideas that others post.
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gdaughter Feb 24, 2019
In our case we actually put LOCKING handsets on a couple interior room door knobs. One on the bedroom where my pup is since the elders cannot be trusted to look out for her/handle her. This makes my space cluttered as it is a safe place for valuables, papers etc. (Note that there is also a key to this room in the knox box/lock box which also notes my pup is in here, god forbid). We also locked the laundry room door to keep my mother with dementia from the washing machine access. She was using too much detergent and we suspect that was the reason for a hives episode my father had...the hassle is having to keep your keys handy, AND being VERY CAREFUL to not let your keys be left sitting somewhere because demented or not, they are VERY SNEAKY and will try to bust in where they are locked out. Or can I should say. I found my mother one day throwing her 100 lbs against the laundry room door, twisting the knob, and trying keys on dad's key ring on it...
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I found an item called tiles. They are small key fob type items that I put in moms purse, fanny pack, phone etc so that when she puts them away for safety I can find them with an ap on my phone. This has saved hours of hunting!
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I lowered the temp on the water heater when she forgot how to adjust the temps. She was burning once and only once before I did that. No injuries.
Removed knobs from gas stove after she turned them on once. One was lit, the other wasn't.
As she got worse and wandered off once, while I was in the shower, I put extra locks on the doors and added alarms.
Initially I had to hide her car keys.
I have to administer her meds as much as possible.
Now I must bathe and help her dress.
And it will get worse.
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dtgray12 Feb 21, 2019
I feel for you. I'm going to hide her keys. Since she lazy I don't have to worry about her walking off but my new concern is her cell phone usage especially since she doesn't know whats she's doing.
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Unplug the Toaster! Mom put hot cocoa packets in the toaster. Thank God we saw this before the paper caught fire. When mom’s sodium gets low her dementia like behavior gets 10x worse so watch for sodium levels.
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The hard thing with seniors is that UTI does not create the same symptoms as it does when younger, she has 2 of the most common symptoms seen in seniors, 1 - sudden onset of dementia like behavior 2 - off smelling urine.

Get her checked and keep an eye on it, incontinence is a huge factor for causing UTIs.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Does she wander? If so, get her a wearable tracker (and start looking for a memory care community - it's best to make the move while she's still able to adjust well).

Lock down her finances. She's vulnerable to scammers and her own bad judgement.

Invest in some 'smart home' technology to keep an eye on things when mom is home and you're not; a doorbell that alerts you when someone visits and shows you the visitor, a device that lets you do a video call with mom, smart plugs that let you log on to make sure things are on or off as they should be...

And, again, start looking for a community. The symptoms get worse.
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