What's the best way to keep a parent with Alzheimer's safe from wandering at night?

35 answers | Last updated: Nov 18, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Is it considered abusive to use restraints to lock a parent with Alzheimer's disease in their room at night so that they do not wander around the house?  I also use a baby monitor by the bed side to hear should she need anything.


Expert Answers

Beth Spencer is a social worker in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with more than 25 years of experience with families who have a member with dementia. She is coauthor of Understanding Difficult Behaviors and Moving a Relative with Memory Loss: A Family Caregiver's Guide. Previously, she directed Silver Club, early-stage and adult day programs serving individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses.

Yes, most professionals consider this a form of neglect or abuse. It's generally not very safe and can be extremely upsetting to the person with Alzheimer’s disease. Imagine waking up in the middle of the night and not knowing where you are.  You go to the door and discover it's locked. You're apt to feel like a prisoner, which you are. This can lead to feelings of fear, anger, or hysteria, as it would in any of us to be locked against our will in a room.  

That said, it's an extremely difficult problem for families when a parent with dementia wanders around the house in the middle of the night. A baby monitor is definitely a good idea. Some people with dementia get day and night reversed, which becomes a terrible problem for families. Melatonin (available over the counter) sometimes helps with sleep. Asking her physician for a medication to help with sleep is another option. Increased exercise during the day may help, too.

Sometimes wandering happens because the person iwakes in the night to go to the bathroom and then thinks it's morning. Make sure she's not getting lost going to or from the bathroom, which can distract her and keep her up. Nightlights or a bedside commode may help. Some families find it helpful to leave a snack by the bed with a note reminding the person that it’s the middle of the night.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

I use a baby monitor as well, along with the fact our home is completly baby proof. We have inexpensive alarms on all the doors. Latches on all the drawers and cupboards. She has acesss to wherever she wants to go because of simple saftey factors we pratice in our home. to prevent her from going into the kitchen we use baby gates. Our bedroom is next to hers and we have learned to listen more rather than react. Mom in most cases tinkers around a few hours, and then falls fast asleep.

A fellow caregiver answered...

My husband and I still sleep in the same bed but he started wandering at night. It worried me becuse I sleep so soundly and he was so quiet that I seldom heard him. One night, he fell out in the lanai, fortunately my son was visiting and he heard him. So this is what we did...we changed the knob on the bedroom door so that it would lock from the outside and I kept one of those little flat keys that can open those knobs from the other side. I told my husband what I wanted to do...which was to lock the door ONLY when we were both in the room - NEVER if he was in there alone. And explained why. So that is what we've done and he doesn't seem to mind it all because he knows that I'm inside there with him. It's not an an ideal solution perhaps, but it works for us.

Mr. frustrated answered...

Beth Spencer stated, "most professionals consider this a form of neglect or abuse" regarding locking a wandering dementia patient in their room at night. My 88-year-old mother has advanced Alzheimers and Macular Degeneration to the point of being legally blind. The suggestion to leave a snack and a note by the bed would be ridiculous in our case--the snack, yes; the note, no! She has started wandering at night. Two evenings ago she managed for the first time in 8 years to get out of the house and was found by a neighbor in their driveway, wearing a bathrobe and slippers. Last night we discovered her in our attached garage, sitting on the floor, covered in grease and dirt.

During the day, when awake she has full access to the home, as my wife or I are always here to watch her. She has always had the huge master bedroom suite with a large private bathroom attached, giving her 950 square feet, about half of our home. Everything in the room is hers. She used to entertain herself before bed by feeling many objects that she has owned for a lot of years. Now, those things no longer have any meaning for her.

At this point, I can see no other course of action, short of sitting outside her door all night, than to lock her in her suite for the night. Seems to me that the real neglect or abuse would be to let her continue to roam, possibly falling down stairs, cutting herself on kitchen utensils, or otherwise causing her harm.

Do facilities that care for dementia patients allow them to roam the halls, kitchen and grounds at night, or are they confined to their room? If they are confined, do the professionals consider this neglect or abuse?

Any "professionals" care to respond?

Thank You.

Gorilla gaurd answered...

I don't have an answer to this question, but I now deal with a related issue.

My wife is in the mid-stage of her dementia which includes many, many delusional behaviors. One of these is walking around our house after I turn in checking and re-checking things, mostly security concerns. Over and over she checks doors, windows, lights, electric connections, garage and our car. She insists that she be the last one to turn in. So sometimes I just fall asleep, otherwise exhausted from the day.

Then I wake up an hour later and she is still at it, doing her security rounds. I try not to be selfish, but I need a good night's rest and my dear wife's night prowling is beginning to interfere with what used to be one of our more pleasant activities, that of climbing into our bed together and ending the day in a peaceful mode.

Mariamarta answered...

Mr Frustrated: I'm so sorry for what you and your mom are going through. For you to care for her in your home, in the largest suite, with her things around her for familiarity, shows you love her very much and are trying to do everything you can for her -- keeping her with loved ones / family is sooo important.

But sometimes -- often even! -- dementia is bigger than the best in us. Caring for loved ones with dementia has certainly changed me, humbled me.

I write this NOT as a professional (I'm not paid!) but as someone who has taken care of several family members with dementia and for the last 8 years have been 24/7 with my mom, who has dementia (it runs like wildfire in our very large family and I'm one of the few unmarried/no children who doesn't need to work outside the home).

A couple of years ago I started sleeping in bed with mom to calm her during the night as needed and keep her from wandering. Despite this there are nights when she's so wired and I'm so exhausted that she wanders and I sleep on and off jolted awake by panic.

What I'd recommend -- certainly video monitors and barriers (tall enough that she doesn't trip over), maybe a bed or door alarm (for when she gets up or exits the room, you can find them on elder care websites), and continued loving care from you (and from you to yourself, and a roll of the eyes -- to yourself-- for criticism from armchair caregivers-- there are LOTS of them).

Nursing homes have alarms on doors, they also camouflage doors so they look like walls, and they (should) have 24-hour monitoring (though one still hears stories...). But they don't give the quality of care that you do, with the love only a son can give.

To be fair to the social worker -- I'd want someone who is advising on behalf of or caring for others in an institutional environment to err on the side of respect and honoring the patient, given how easy it is to dehumanize them. If such locking were an option it opens the door to abuses -- to be used too soon or in inappropriate situations. Better that paid caregivers don't have that as an option.

Best wishes to you, and very glad to know people like you are out there.

Julie05 answered...

Mr Frustrated: as a professional with five years experience of elderly community care and 2 years as a specalist dementia therapist i take the opinion that it is abuse. Although you are looking out for your mother can you imagion waking and not being able to get out of your room. In a world that is very frightening this could be much worse. I work in a 42 bedroomed sheltered housing scheme we have approximatly seven people with varing degrees of dementia and yes they are able to wonder the halls at night. Our soloution is to use assisted technology so we are aware that people have risen or have opened their door. We can then offer assiatance and distraction. Something that also helps is a walk before bedtime to tire out. Obviously you are looking after her 24hrs a day 7 days a week which is great have you thought of having a sitter for one or two nights a week ensuring that you have break as well as some well deserved rest.

Oldironsides answered...

I am 72 years old and retired and live alone with my wife of 52 years who has moderate Alzheimer's. As the sole caregiver I have given much thought to easing my own stress with caring for my wife. I have observed her situation and made adjustments to fix the problems they create. She used to sleep alone in her room with a table lamp on and this resulted in frequent night time wanderings. I realized that in the brightly lit room she became confused with day or night when she would wake up to use her bathroom. I installed a small nightlight in the bathroom and turned off her table lamp and this greatly reduced her wandering. Unlike some people above, when my wife would wake up during the night she would get completely dressed before trying to leave her bedroom. To stop this I purchased small battery powered tool box alarms at Home Depot for $15 that would loudly sound when she opened her bedroom door. This alarm was so loud it sometimes stops her in her tracks and gives me time to get her back to bed right away. Then I realized that her wandering tendencies usually occurred within the first two hours after she went to bed. I would then stay awake for those two hours to make sure she was fast asleep before I went to bed. I also installed the tool box alarms on all of the outside doors along with inside keyed deadbolts.

As far as the comments regarding abuse goes, I was as much concerned about what the legal definition was and found in my state there were several statutes about caring for someone with a mental illness that allowed confinement that would be otherwise unlawful for a normal healthy person. I also have concerns about how far nursing homes go to caring for Alzheimer's patients seeing many of the other problems my wife gets into. Because of those concerns I plan to keep my wife at home for as long as I am able to.

Kateambro3 answered...

It is much better to let patients with dementia roam all over the house and get into anything that they want, as long as they are not restrained.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!! How is it abusive to keep someone from getting into something that may kill them or their family?

Yes, I want my mother, who is in the later stages of dementia, to roam my house at night, poop and pee everywhere, eat things she shouldn't, wake up everyone in the house, maybe grab a knife from the kitchen... But as long as we don't use restraints, we are being humane.

WHAT I SAY TO THAT IS THAT IT IS BULL! Whoever feels restraints aren't necessary has never lived with a dementia patient. They are not only for their safety, but the safety of the people they live with. I am not talking about a straight jacket or tying someone's hands and feet to their bed but baby safety gates and baby door knob protectors.

My mother, who I have cared for over the past several years, roams, so I have a contraption on my front door knob that she can't turn. Is this wrong or restraining? I guess, unless I want to find her out of my home wandering somewhere. I also have a baby gate that I put up AT NIGHT to keep her from roaming through the whole house while everyone is sleeping. I did this because she has left her bedroom and eaten things that were harmful, like scented pine cones, while we were sleeping, has peed and pooped everywhere, has broken the door knob on the front door trying to get out, and just gets into everything while we are sleeping. ALSO, I sleep on the couch, in the living room, to keep her wandering down to a minimum. This does not always work, because I am very tired from caring for her all day.

RESTRAINTS, which are mainly for the benefit of the patient, can also be useful for the families too. Medical "professionals" need to get off of their high horse that restraining someone is abusive. I worked in the medical field for 10 years, as an ultrasound technologist, before I had to quit my job to care for my mother with dementia. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND RESTRAINTS as long as it keeps the patient and caregivers safe.

Pmosk answered...

We have our grandmother who night roams and has been known to leave her house over for a week or two to spell other siblings who provide care also. She has her own bedroom and bath. We have a baby monitor, but she is super quiet when she roams. I've installed a wireless Wireless Entry Alert Chime (approx $25) on the bedroom door to warn us when she leaves the room. It's not intrusive and the chimes volume is adjustable.

Craigt3365 answered...

I've been struggling with this also. We use to let my mom roam free. Then she went outside and fell trying to walk around the yard. Impossible to make the entire yard safe, so we've had to lock her in her room.

At first, she wasn't happy. Now, it's no big deal and she understands what's going on. It's for her protection. No house is 100% safe for somebody with dementia and who is almost blind. Low coffee tables, corners that can trip you up, etc., all make a house a night a very dangerous place.

I hate doing this, but have no other option. And for now, it's working out great. She's got a very large room to walk around in along with an attached bathroom with night lights. Not sure what else to do other than to let her wander and potentially hurt herself. Not good.

We lock her up after we go to bed and open the door when we get up, usually around 7am. Luckily, she normally sleeps until 8 or later.

Mr. frustrated answered...

As an update, I'd like to add the following information.

Because of the answers given by professionals on here, and concerns over feelings of guilt, we consulted various assisted living centers around here over their thoughts of locking-in a patient such as my mother. We took to heart what the professionals had to say. Instead of locking my mom in her suite, we installed a better quality baby monitor, upgraded the alarm system, paid a professional to come visit and advise us on rearrangement of furniture, etc. My wife began sleeping in a second bed we placed in my mother's room to keep her from wandering during the night. All went well until one night my wife was so pooped she didn't awake when my mom quietly got up and left her room.

Unfortunately, she managed to unlock and go out the patio door, fell off the landing and broke her hip. To make matters worse, two months after this, she left her bed at 4 a.m., went into the kitchen, falling again and broke the other hip. She is now back home and fortunately the wandering is now a thing of the past.

Wish I hadn't listened to the professionals. Her door is now locked at night so she couldn't wander if she wanted to. Her bed is up against one wall, the outside edge has a railing that we put up at night. She is NOT bothered in the least by these actions, and would not have suffered as she did had we done these steps to begin with.

Oldironsides answered...

There are some simple steps that can be taken by every concerned family caregiver to ensure the safety of someone with Alzheimer's. First, install a battery powered alarm on their bedroom door to wake up the caregiver when the person with Alzheimer's tries to leave their bedroom during the night. These battery powered alarms are not expensive. I bought them at Home Depot for less than $15. They are called "tool box alarms". Second, install additional inside deadbolt locks that can only be opened with a key on all outside doors. These locks can be surface mounted since it is not necessary to open them from outside they don't have to have the second cylinder bored through the door.

Christean answered...

oldironsides, thank you for your suggestion of simple and obvious ways to deal with night wandering and exiting the home. My husband, Robert, hasn't started night wandering, but I'm going to purchase a tool box alarm before I need it, and hope I never will. Thank you again. Anonymous, maria, julie, pmosk - thank you also for similar solutions. I wonder if a split door might help, locked with a key but with a top open (too high to crawl out of).

Oldironsides answered...

As the disease progresses new problems arise that must be dealt with. While I fixed the wandering problem at night, my wife has entered a new stage and seldom tries to leave her bed or her bedroom. The daytime has presented a new problem, mischief. While I live alone with my wife and have no other caregivers to rely on, I am unable to sit in the same room with her all day long and watch her. I must keep her from having access to other parts of the house. The kitchen, dining room and living room contain things that seem to fascinate her and if she gets a hold of them unsupervised it causes problems. From little things like picking up and walking off with the TV remote control to popping the tops off soda cans or dog food to moving chairs from the kitchen into the family room to removing food from the freezer and laying it on the counter top to defrost. So I took advantage of my home's layout and installed steel dog gates to block off access to these three rooms. She now has free access to the outside deck in nice weather and to the family room which has another television. And our three Rottweilers seem to enjoy keeping her company. This allows me an opportunity to take care of chores around the house knowing she is safe and cannot get into trouble. I do know that on the few occasions that I may forget to lock the gates she frequently tests the front door to see if she can go out. I see the position of the turn knob deadbolt has been changed even while the keyed deadbolt prevented the door from being opened. Her habit of moving chairs around reminded me of living with a Poltergeist from the movie of the same name. She still moves the deck chairs but that isn't a problem. When I find the kitchen chairs all moved into the family room it is a shock.

Craigt3365 answered...

We are having pretty good success with locking her in her room. She will bang on the door at 2 or 3 am trying to get out, but then goes back to wandering around her room.

We had to remove a chair as he was using it to get into upper level cabinets. We have already removed everything from the room. Everything. And now have taken out the chair and everything in the cabinets. She would get up on the chair, open the cabinets, take everything out, and then place the stuff around the room.

She would also go to the attached bathroom, use the toilet, then spread the used paper all over the room.

It's a tough thing to deal with. We've even had to remove the latches from the windows as she has tried to crawl out them. Since we have an alarm, this isn't a good thing.

We are sleeping better, and mom is safer. We are not happy about it, but the alternative is to allow her to wander and potentially hurt herself. Which is not an option.

Mr. frustrated answered...

craigt3365, I think you are on the right track. Soon enough, your mom will no longer bang on the door in the middle of the night--she'll forget all about it. To me, safety is the paramount key to this issue. I would rather the person be angry for 15 seconds about not being able to leave her room after bedtime than to have to go through the agony of a fractured hip (or two), or some other peril. Wandering seems to be a quite common factor in this disease, but it is a phase that WILL go away.

You'll run into the occasional party who might chastise you for locking her in at night; ignore them. It's a far different scenario for workers in a facility, who are working a shift--than a full-time care giver at home who works ALL shifts, every day.

My mom has recently passed away. Toward the end of her struggles with the disease she was bed-bound. After caring for her for almost ten years, our only wish is that we would have confined her earlier, preventing the broken hips that she suffered.

A fellow caregiver answered...

My mother has begun wandering at night. I've been considering locking her in her room at night. She wakes the household up sometimes with hollering. But I'm not comfortable with her wandering through the house while I sleep. I sometimes will only get 1 hour of sleep a night. I keep my mother with me and I have my two grandchildren during the day (ages 1 1/2 and 3 yrs old). Which is more inhumane? Locking her in her room at night, or the caregiver of 3 functioning on little to no sleep?

Oldironsides answered...

When I just logged in I noticed that I have been a member since December 2011. Wow, so much has happened and changed in less than three years. My first comments were about my concerns with my wife's wandering and how I dealt with the problem. Most of those problems are gone now because my wife has deteriorated deeper into her Alzheimer's. During the day time I still keep her confined within the family room with the TV turned on. I still keep the inside, keyed deadbolts locked on the outside doors. The Rottweilers still keep her company and seem to know when she gets up and moves around they should let me know. She has a fancy toward all kinds of magazines and sits on the couch and tears pictures from them. She pretends to read them but I know her eyesight is so bad she cannot. Walking around now is her biggest problem. She is unsteady on her feet and needs to hold my hand for balance and guidance. Only rarely now does she get up from the couch and walk around.

When I put her in bed at bedtime I turn out all the lights in her attached bathroom and in her bedroom. The darkness keeps her from getting out of bed because she cannot see well and I doubt now if she could get out of bed on her own if she wanted. In the morning I have to physically move her body to help her off the mattress and stand up. She wears a Depends under her pajamas and that keeps her comfortable. I need to spoon feed her because she doesn't know how to feed herself. I need to take showers with her because she fears going into the shower alone, even with the grab bars I installed. I need to dress her and undress her because she cannot and doesn't even know the reason why.

I want to disagree with the professional lady who said locking the bedroom door is a form of abuse. Last Spring my wife was taken to the hospital by ambulance for a suspected heart attack. They kept her overnight and released her at 3PM. When I went there to check her condition I found her wrists were restrained with straps so she couldn't get out of bed. And there was no one in her room to watch her or keep her company. If this is the way professionals treat someone with Alzheimer's then my unprofessional methods are much more humane. A few years ago I had a problem with her leaving the bedroom at night and I fixed it with the alarms on her door. The alarm hasn't gone off for over six months now. She has gotten into a new phase of the disease. I bought a wheelchair to put her in whenever we go shopping. It was cheaper to pay $195 for it than rent it through our Medicare Advantage insurance. The wheelchair makes it so easy for me to get her around.

These problems are only temporary as I have seen through experience the disease has stages. The most important thing now is to keep my wife safe and comfortable.

Sleepy in texas answered...

I have to say how amazing you almost all are to care for your loved one under such ungrateful times. I have had a dose of this with my father who now lives with me. He's comfortable and pretty happy at times here. There are so many things that happen thru the couple stages I've experienced so far. He almost died one night wondering in his house while we were there closing things down. He feel down his pretty steep stairs.. Now again roaming seems to be a problem. I like the tool box alarm ideas.. Double chairs in the hall just isn't enough some nights.. With going from too much sleep to marathon awake dementia spells it's pretty crazy some nights. Thank You for your posts.. It's just nicer on some level to know your not the only one..

A fellow caregiver answered...

I do not think there should be a hard and fast rule asserted by authorities. , The person's wishes should be taken into account by whoever has Power of Attorney (usually close family) and a sensible balance of danger to health if he goes out v thwarting his wishes needs to be taken, and recorded in writing so the professionals have the authority to implement his wishes. for example If a person lives alone and is clear he wants to stay home and not go in an institution, then stopping them wandering outdoors in winter in pyjamas at night is a sensible precaution they will agree to in their lucid moments. After all dad was always keen that the door be locked at night to keep intruders out. He used to keep the key so far away that in emergency it would not be found.
When he was found out at night several times, We added a keybox outside and asked the carers to always lock when they left, Indoors, and the keys were not left readily available to dad.

For the daytime, he could go out at any time, and we added a fence and gate round the garden with a difficult latch that he has not fathomed out.. All this talk of dementia homes not locking them in refers to their bedroom only - and there are staff on duty- but these places lock their front and back doors , or at least their garden gates back and front. I had one lady hovering by the door when I left after a visit to my dad in respite, and she swore and banged on the glass with her stick when she was not quick enough to follow me out.

Then came the time that dad's balance was bad and if he fell in the back garden he may not be found for a long time and could not be lifted without 2 strong men. So he can go out only when accompanied. He understands all this when we discuss it and agrees it is sensible. But when he gets low, he cannot understand.

When carers started staying with him, they kept the doors locked more whenever they had chores which meant they could not watch him minute by minute and his balance was bad the weather was too bad for him to go out. If he wanted to go out he asked. Gradually he would just report that the door was 'working' or 'not working'. He is now at the oscillating stage where outdoors may be attractive OR frightening, so even if the door is wide open he may shut it to be safe or pop out! He has a home big enough to enjoy and be active in, and goes out, accompanied, 3-5 times a week. He also sleeps a lot. Our aim is to enable him to stay at home where he feels familiar and not have accidents by going out alone/at night undressed. Sometimes he knows us, sometimes not.

Sleepless nights answered...

To Mr frustrated I feel ya buddy. I am caring for my dad with dementia and he wanders at nite. The other nite day he stayed up for 48 hrs complete no sleep for him or us. He talked and wandered everywhere as we ran after him. I was on the verge of putting him in a nursing home that charged 5000 a month. I asked that question about wandering at nite even tho he will have private room and she said yes he will wander but we usually see them and guide them back. I asked can others get in is room since u don't lock them, and she said yes and again they try to watch for that. Now with social media I believe the staff may be too busy on their phones to watch for that or see that happen. So what is the difference. Only the 5000 a Month. I decided to keep him here.

Christean answered...

I agree, Sleepless. My husband (who has Alzheimer's) and I are in assisted living. By adding care levels for him at higher costs here, I may be able to keep us together throughout. I checked many facilities. One place has nighttime caregivers who SLEEP; I was told they would hear anyone who wandered, and would wake up. What a farce. A good place I saw has caregivers who stay awake all night to keep an eye on the six residents. $6500 a month, I believe. There's just no solution for people in a normal income range. It's all so heartbreaking.

Solutionsnotproblems answered...

After 3 years of caring for our 83 yr old father with ALZ and Cancer we have learned that medical PROFESSIONALS see no issue with taking every dime that the elderly have spent a lifetime earning but feel a protective gate is abuse. They advise a secure gate on the fenced yard but not on a door to a bedroom or kitchen.

We recently removed Dad from an AWARD WINNING skilled nursing facility , dehydrated and infected with a 5 lb weight loss. After only two weeks of PROFESSIONAL CARE.

On admittance we let the staff know that DAd required 1400 ML of water in his feeding tube, and was NOT to be placed on Seriquel because it gave him problems with his heart condition.

They promptly placed him on 800 ML and kept the medication on that his cardiologist removed from his med list.

After telling me that it was a secure facility they notified me day 3 that dad had been found in the parking lot after wheeling himself out following some visitors. Lied straight to my face by telling me he had removed an ankle monitor that wasn't on that morning when I dressed him.

We sent DAD in walking with a walker, and in the 2 weeks never saw him out of a wheel chair, though he was there for rehab. He left the house walking down the four stairs from the deck and had to be carried up when he got home.

We placed a door alarm on his bedroom door because he has fallen many times over the last 3 yrs, or will sit on floor to look for something and can't get up. He has a bedside commode for evenings for this reason.

What these people don't tell you is that many patients with ALZ don't recover from a broken hip or that severe injury quickens the levels of ALZ.

We also installed a stair gate at waist level on his door that is removed at 6 am every morning.

When he opens his door at 2 am the alarm sounds and the gate gives us time to turn him around before a disagreement occurs in the hallway.

You can't reason with a person that has dementia after certain stages. So with Dad when he walks off without his feeding machine even a sweet reminder can become a cause for disagreement. Though he doesn't speak he is very demonstrative and it is easy to tell he is yelling at you.

One of the first things he suffered in his ALZ was the understanding of consequence, then compassion and empathy.

Dad has oral cancer with no ability to yell out for help. A bedside commode is the best way to handle his fall risk and a gate is a secondary defense.

We have to balance as caregivers whether it is smarter to place a gate or to have one of our four children find him in a puddle of blood on the bathroom floor.

It is easy for professionals that make a living on the elderly to have an opinion. They work five days a week , get a lot of vacation time, and have workmans comp. They prescribe a pill for everything including behavior that makes their job difficult, which restrains our parents from being anything close to what they were and say its to help them.

The professionals have said for 3 yrs its time to stop trying and place Dad in hospice, yesterday he danced with his grand-daughters, and if we had listened to the professionals my girls would not have that memory to take with them through life,.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Let me tell you that a lot of the "professionals" don't know what they are talking about. Your home is not a skilled nursing home institution. They say that some people shouldn't be taking care of parents at home; they really think everyone has a CHOICE. Many do NOT have a choice, and they are making the best of things. My mother used to wander before she came to live with me. I couldn't stay overnight at her house 400 miles away anymore, and I stopped her from wandering out into the night. Let me tell you I am not going to apologize for saving her life - repeatedly. Many professionals think you can't lock her in? Hey - if the Alzheimer's Disease progresses like my mother's you won't have any other CHOICE. This is a about SURVIVAL. I tried baby monitors, gates, etc. The ONLY thing that has kept her SAFE is a Dutch door with a lock on the outside. You cannot stay awake every night watching and listening for her. It is impossible. And eventually something will happen to you, and then who will take care of your parent. You need to make decisions to keep your PARENT safe because they can't make those decisions anymore. This is not the "professionals" flesh and blood. They are just a statistic to these "professionals." Do the right thing, without apology, and keep your parent SAFE.

A fellow caregiver answered...

One aspect that I use is that I installed a dutch door which opens in half. The top half stays open all night. The bottom half has the lock on the outside. Let me give you all some very important advice. Do not use a regular door lock on the outside. You need to use install a key lock.

Tom's daughter answered...

I am a medical professional. My husband and I care for my father with moderate to severe Memory loss in our home. Since he caused a kitchen fire, wandered out side in the dark, and has fallen on the steps, you bet we lock him in his room at night. Safety first. My hubby and I sleep better knowing he can't wander or harm himself. We have video monitors and check on him throughout the night.

Craigt3365 answered...

Mom had a horrible fall 2 weeks ago. I know she's fallen before as we'll see her limp around a bit from time to time. But this one was really bad. Huge gash on her head, 6 huge stitches and a lot of blood. Took 2 hours in ER to get it taken care of, then 8 hours under observation after an MRI.

So...we hired a lady that comes in at 7pm and stays until 7am. Helps her pee at night and keeps an eye on her. Luckily, here in Thailand, it's quite cheap. Some $300 for the entire month. We very happy so far. We also hired another lady to do the same from 7am till 7pm. So we've now got 24x7 care and lets us (more or less) lead a normal life. Great stuff.

Thelaw answered...

Craog3365 - I am glad you found this solution. In the USA, people expect a minimum of $10 an hour, so 12 hours a night for a month is more like $3600. Even if we managed to negotiate to cut that number in half, that number ($1300) would still more than the entire Social Security income of the average senior in USA. But I haven't found anyone like that. When my father died 4 years ago, this is what my sister did when my mom was still living in her own house, but at $100 plus a night, this quickly consumed most of my father's retirement money.

Alzheimer's portable answered...

A company by the name of ALS, LLC has a div, www.assistsecurityproducts.com has a new Portable door lock the can stop Alz. Patients from leaving the house and will travel with you, when needed. Check out this video on ALZ. Lock to see if this will help you stop your patient from leaving the house and stay safe.

Precious daughter answered...

There is a Miller Trust for middle class families. It will help you to qualify for medicaid. Contact an Elder Care Lawyer for the derails. Also the Veterans give 1140. a month if you or your spouse was a veteran.

Sw caretaker answered...

Ultimately whether or not to lock doirs is a personal choice. Never give over your power to so called experts. Twi broken hips is not worth it. That being said, I'd hate to have anyone investigated or arrested for elder abuse. Find out about the laws, and elder service regulations in your area before making a decision.

Svb answered...

We have Mom on a bed alarm. We also sleep in recliners in the living room where we arrange furniture so that she cannot get to an exit without bumping her walker into things. This serves to insure she would wake us if she were to try to go out the door. Basically it takes creativity to find ways that work in your situation. Hope that helps.

Young lizzy answered...

I have been a carer for over 20 years and it is heart breaking to see your parents and aunty who l care for so long to deteriorate slowly.my dad is 90 and his dementia is getting worse he is doing a lot of weird things and its very scary.l love dad so much and it just breaks my heart to see him like this .l talk to dad a lot to explain his situation and he try to understand and he tells me your my daughter your the boss you know best.

Irish jewel answered...

Wow, some of this is very disturbing and some very positive and I understand that all parties are doing the best they can with what they have - each and every situation is different - no one can tell YOU what to do - YOU need to evaluate the situation - research online and do what YOU think is best for your parent/spouse you are taking care of in your home - God Bless YOU! YOU will make mistakes - it's a process - there are good times and bad times - but having them with you makes it worth it. Times change quickly and you have to be flexible - most importantly you have to slow down your pace to meet theirs - they can't change theirs. Even when they don't know you - tell them you love them - they know down deep. Just hold their hand and give them a hug. Routine is the best medicine - motion lights are a blessing. We have one that comes on when mom gets out of bed throughout the day or night - another across from her door in the hall that comes on as she gets ready to cross the hall and another in the bathroom - as she prepares to enter the bathroom. I've learned that it's best to just give her 2 Tylenol PM at night - to help her sleep through the entire night - she still has a great appetite - thank goodness. I wish everyone all the best!