My mother forgets to turn off the faucet after she uses it, what should I do?

Marylandgal asked...

My mother is getting to the more forgetful stage of Lewy Body Dementia and has now started to repeatedly forget to turn off her bathroom sink faucet after she's used it. Which sometimes can leave it on for hours at a time before I hear it. Thank goodness we're on well water so we don't have to pay by the gallon. Turning the water off entirely under the sink isn't an option because her dementia is such that she can figure out how to turn that back on while still forgetting to turn the faucet off at the sink. I've looked at touchless faucets but they generally don't offer temp adjustments. She still likes to take spit baths so if I set it for cold only, that's not going to make her happy. If I set it for warm, she's not going to enjoy it for drinking. At this stage I feel like a hamster in a wheel trying to figure out a viable solution. Any suggestions?? Help!!

Expert Answer

Deborah Cooke is a gerontologist specializing in dementia, delirium, caregiving, and senior fitness. She is a certified dementia care provider and specialist through the Alzheimer's Foundation of America. Cooke currently manages several multidisciplinary programs to enhance well-being for hospitalized seniors and other vulnerable patients at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. She also serves on the board of NewYork-Presbyterian's Patient and Family Education Advisory Committee. She has 18 years of experience working with the aging and caregiver communities.

Goodness. This one is tough. I've been racking my brain to come up with some ideas. My best suggestion is to try posting notes around the sink and bathroom door. Write it in bold large letters. Also, you may consider adding a picture to the note to help her understand the task at hand a little bit better.

The automatic faucet is a great idea. There are some out there that do hot/cold. It's just a matter of how long the hot comes out. Then, you have to remember to be in front of it long enough for it to get warm. This may be very frustrating for her and cause unnecessary agitation.

If I think of anything else, you will be the first to know. Hopefully someone else will read this and offer their own tried and trued solutions.