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Making the House Safe

OnPoint

New member
Sep 3, 2020
9
My father died of pancreatic cancer on Wednesday. My sister has been at my parent's house for 4 weeks but needs to return home on Sunday.

Mum is very muddled and needs help with things like getting meals. I will be with mum during the day and have carers lined up to do 4 daily checks and help with meals etc.

My question is: how do I safely leave her overnight? I'm terrified but as a solo mum to a 5 year old and with 3 dogs at my house I will need to go home each night. Thank you.
 

Louise7

Registered User
Mar 25, 2016
2,467
Welcome @OnPoint You'll find that this is a friendly and supportive group. Sorry for your loss and I can understand your concerns about leaving your mum on her own at night. Has your mum's level of confusion been the same for a while or has the loss of your father made things worse, and did your sister identify any particular concerns about your mum's safety at night when she was staying with her? There are some practical things that can be done to make the home environment safer in general, and you may find this fact sheet helpful, but please keep posting to let us know if you have any specific concerns as others here will have had similar problems and be able to offer better advice.

https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/staying-independent/keeping-safe-home#content-start
 

OnPoint

New member
Sep 3, 2020
9
Hi @Louise7

Thank you very much for the linked document.

Mum lives in a bungalow. My main worry is her losing keys or walking the wrong way back from the loo in the night. I sat with dad all night on Monday and saw/heard mum go out of her room to the loo. When she didn't come back I went to check and she had walked down towards the kitchen. I gently directed her back to her room.
I am also afraid of her accidentally letting the dogs out of the front door. One is hers and wouldn't go far, but dad's (who she has said she wants to keep) could potentially run off towards the main road. He is a lovely dog and I would be gutted if anything bad happened to him.

My main observations in changes since dad died would be that she has conflated her own father's death with dad's. E.g. she told the undertaker today that dad worked in a bank. Dad didn't, but her father was a bank manager. She also couldn't bring my daughter's name to mind yesterday and thought it was her birthday soon. It isn't.

I haven't seen her do anything unsafe with the cooker, cleaning products etc and the care manager and I have agreed to keep notes and see how she gets on with everything. I am anxious about mum being OK but am hoping she can stay at home because she really wants to. She really loves the dogs and I do want to try and keep them together.
 

Woo2

Registered User
Apr 30, 2019
2,786
South East
Hi @OnPoint , welcome from me too . Sorry to hear about your dad. You sound like you have put a lot thought in and practical help for your mum . The care agency sound helpful and will be your eyes and ears when you can’t be there . I don’t really have any suggestions, I think time will tell how your mum manages . Could you maybe have a chat with any neighbours that your mum talks to , give them your number just in case .
 

OnPoint

New member
Sep 3, 2020
9
Thank you @Woo2. I am glad I joined as this is such a friendly community! That is a brilliant idea regarding the neighbours. It had not occurred to me. Dad never accepted mum's diagnosis. He did a fantastic job taking care of mum. But when I rang around after his death I found out he had cut a lot of their friends off (I presume to "protect" mum). I will be taking a different approach.
 

Susan11

Registered User
Nov 18, 2018
2,513
Thank you @Woo2. I am glad I joined as this is such a friendly community! That is a brilliant idea regarding the neighbours. It had not occurred to me. Dad never accepted mum's diagnosis. He did a fantastic job taking care of mum. But when I rang around after his death I found out he had cut a lot of their friends off (I presume to "protect" mum). I will be taking a different approach.
Very good idea to tell the neighbours. My parents' neighbours were very helpful. I suggest you ask for their phone numbers too. In fact it was a neighbour who rang to tell me Dad had been taken to hospital. He had seen Mum in the street and gone over to check. Dad had fallen in the bathroom so the neighbour called the ambulance.
 

Woo2

Registered User
Apr 30, 2019
2,786
South East
My dad closed ranks a little too @OnPoint , he wanted to protect Mum from people’s pity I think , but mum also fell out with close family and friends for no reason that we could work out , so they had no one around really apart from one set of great friends who had personal experience of Dementia . You are right it is a very supportive caring friendly forum, I have learnt so much from here . Take care
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
321
A point not yet made here is the welfare of your 5 year old child. I am sure that is your top priority and rightly so. It would be wrong to disadvantage the child in any way to benefit an elderly person who is close to the end of life. Of course if you can care well for both we would all salute you. I will put on a tin hat here and also say that the welfare of dogs should be a low priority. It sounds as if you are doing the right things and as others say the care provider can be your eyes and ears to watch for any signs that anything is going wrong at night.
 

OnPoint

New member
Sep 3, 2020
9
Thank you @MartinWL - I appreciate the post. My daughter's welfare is a priority and you make a very valid point.

We are a family of dog lovers. Mum and her dog are inseparable and I'd like to keep them together as long as possible. Realistically dad's dog may have to be re-homed to give him his best life. It's a question of one step at a time and seeing how mum gets on the next few weeks.

My dogs are not negotiable. All 3 are rescues and I've worked hard to bring all 3 back to health and train them after neglect from their previous owners. It would also be too hard on my daughter to lose her beloved grandfather and then have 3 dogs she adores re-homed.
 

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