Balancing risks ..... managing change .....

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Following recent OT assessment it was agreed that mum should have a Yale lock fitted to her main entrance door. Aside from concerns about whether she remembered to lock her door at night, I reported the increasing frequency of my arriving at various times during the day to find her fast asleep - door unlocked and anyone able to wander in ...... (even if she wasn't asleep she is one frail and vulnerable lady).

I confess I was jittery about how she might manage a change (never had a Yale lock in 40+years) but accepted the risk of her locking herself out occassionally was nothing compared to leaving herself so exposed to potential intruders .......

I was not prepared for the effect it had today.

It was so painfully obvious that such a simple mechanism and / or a simple change completely flustered her. I demonstrated the lock several times before going off to run errands - primarily getting 'spares' cut for neighbours. I could see she wasn't happy - and when she announced - "Well, I'm not sure - I think I'll just leave the door open all the time" :eek: didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Instead of minimizing risk had I actually increased it?

Returned, armed with bright ribbon to make a 'necklace' for her new key, laminated pictures and notes to stick around the door (as suggested by OT) to find her pacing up and down hysterically, believing herself to be imprisoned. In floods of tears she told me how she had even tried to get out of the rear door (seldom used) but couldn't remember where the keys were for the security locks on that one .....

I have left her calm - after several cups of tea and 'practice runs' .... (and she likes the colour of the ribbon!:) ) ... rung ahead to buddy who will pick her up tomorrow for daycare, spoken to OT who is going to visit and help 'promote' her new 'gadget' but I am left with a horrible feeling ......

In trying to promote her physical safety in independent living - I feel I have reinforced the message that she is not safe - cannot be trusted to remember to lock her door .... made her feel 'stupid' (she used that word herself) because she cannot manage a simple new task .......

Oh dear, :( Karen, x


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Oh dear!

good luck Karen - no matter how simple we try and make 'new' things, I fear that they will not be remembered past the next few minutes.

I hope I'm wrong in this case!


Registered User
Sep 23, 2007
Dartmoor Devon
Hi Karen, you have definately done the right thing here and at least you will feel that Mum is safer and what a fantastic idea to use a ribbon !! Good luck !
Love Kate

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Dear Karen, I can only wish you luck.

My mother left her door unlocked [and sometimes wide open] because she was so frightened of losing her keys.

Dhiren cannot use the new gas fire I got especially for him, with a top control and self ignition.

New tasks with new gadgets are challenging.

But on the positive side, your mother has a Buddy and OT to reinforce the new system, so I`ll keep my fingers crossed for her, and for you.

Love xx


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
its a shame that OT could of not got you technical assistant that can let someone know if front door is open for to long

or they should invent a door that closes on its own if left open for longer the 5 min .

you do have hope as when we move into our new house , we have a wried lock on front door that has a handle to push down to open also has a lock that has to be turn around loads of time from the in side with hand to open front door to go out when lock from the out side with key , thought mum would never get the hang of it in how to open it , well I was wrong she learn to open it all right .......... but just forgets to close it .
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Registered User
Mar 6, 2007
Wigan, Lancs
Hi Karen,

Following on from Maggy's suggestion, could a simple self closer (like a fire door) be fitted? You can usually adjust them so they close quite softly and don't 'bang' shut.

I have to say I often come down in the morning and find I've left the back door unlocked all night, and in the summer left it wide open :eek: . Burglars take note! And I've no excuse...


Registered User
Sep 10, 2005
Hi Karen

I agree with Kate. You have definitely done the right thing, but I know how frustrating it is when your carefully laid plans seem to crash and burn in front of you. I had a similar 'challenge' with my mum's telephone. She still doesn't get it and yet other things seem to sink in. I hope your mum eventually masters it. With the reiteration from the others, she might start to feel more comfortable ... and look on the 'bright' side - if she locks herself out at least the neighbours will have keys!

Hope it all goes OK for you; I know you're doing your best.



Registered User
Jul 2, 2006
Newport, Gwent
Hi Karen

You have done the right thing, better to be safe and confused, that not safe and confused.

Give it time, she may well master it. You have covered all the basis by giving neighbours keys in case she locks herself out, which I doubt with her new red ribbon.:)


Cate xxx

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Thanks everyone!

Delighted to report that this morning when I rang mum to check she was all ready to be picked up for daycare before I set off for work (and make sure she had her key!), mum proudly announced. "I've already got my necklace on!!!!" :)

20p worth of ribbon from the local market looks like best buy in years!!!!!! :)

Buddy has since reinforced what a good idea having this lock is AND practised more with mum this afternoon - one lady moving up the 'Christmas list' rapidly!!!!! :D

Love Karen, x

(PS: Sue - I find to helpful to lock doors BEFORE I start on the Chardonnay! ;) :D )


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
20p worth of ribbon from the local market looks like best buy in years!!!!!!
Well done, Karen. Your mum has obviously taken to the new necklace. Good thinking on your part.:)


Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Well done Karen.

It looks like the ribbon did the trick. Doesn`t happen to be yellow does it?

Love xx


Registered User
Apr 15, 2007
Hello Karen,
Safety is a priority these days I can remember when no one seemed to lock or shut for that matter doors or windows, unless the weather was bad.
Times certainly change, I am glad that your mum seems to be grasping the new lock. You are lucky to have such caring neighbours. Hope all continues to go well. Regards Taffy.

dave b

Registered User
Nov 21, 2006
hi karen
sorry if this a bit long winded,but don't your local ss help with door keys?
what i mean at home we have a door safe & the carers know the number so can come in when when they need to could that help you?


Registered User
Nov 7, 2004
Hi Karen

I always liked our key safe.

It was a nice back up if a different carer came without a key, or the neighbour was out shopping. (Of course mum could not use the key safe !!)

Always thought it might prevent the door being kicked in one day by the police or first aid people. (The safe had my mobile phone number on it).

Best wishes