security and saftey issues


Registered User
Aug 3, 2007
hi TP,

havnt posted for a while but have the need to ask for some opinions...
mil has deteriorated and there has been regular discussion about the future. the prospect of mil going into care is all too real and has been accepted by my hubby/bil and myself. however, the point at which this happens is under constant debate. she is leaving her outer doors unlocked but shut most of the time; this is to her garden. she is totally unaware about time of day etc and is begining to concern us with 'wandering'. she is also vulnerable to other opertunistic visitors/cold callers etc. a career is now in every day-albeit for a minimal time.
i would be interested to hear at what point you would consider the risk to be significant to look at moving to a care home. i personally feel that she would be safer but am aware that she soes not want to move into care.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hello Poppet.

My mother also left her outer doors, not only unlocked but on several occasions open. She could never find her keys and was so worried about being locked in.

Fortunately she lived in a small Close and all the neighbours watched out for her, for she still wouldn`t agree to going into a home.

It wasn`t until she didn`t know where she was, didn`t recognize the home she had lived in for years that she became frightened and agreed to go into a NH.

If your MIL still wants to stay in her own home, there`s not much you can do, other than what you already do.

I`m sorry I`m not much help, but it will probably take an accident or mishap to change her mind.


Registered User
Jan 15, 2008
Hi Poppet

My mother leaves her front door unlocked on numerous occasions, although she has it shut. I presume like my mother, your mother's door is a PVC door which has to be locked with a key, rather than the old wooden door which would lock when shut. She also has a habit of losing her keys which are usually to be found in her handbag or on the floor somewhere. I contemplated getting a new wooden door fitted but I think anything different or new would just totally confuse her. I changed her kitchen bin recently from a lift top to a flip top and it totally freaked her out, not being able to find the handle to lift the lid, so I had to get her another one like the old one.

She too won't entertain the thoughts of a nursing home. I'm trying to arrange for her to go to a day centre once or twice a week. What a nightmare that is. One minute she's quite happy and agrees to it, but as soon as the social worker comes to assess her she refuses to even discuss it.

I suppose I'm just waiting until something major happens which forces the issue of going into a NH full time. I don't know if that's a good way to go about it but she just gets aggressive and says she may as well be dead when we bring it up. She has however gone into a NH for respite care on one occasion (not that she wanted to go) so I'm hopeful she'll go again when I go on holiday this year.

The thing is that I hate the thought of being responsible for her life. The idea that whatever happens to her is down to me, especially anything that will make her unhappy makes me feel so sad and guilty.

Sorry I haven't been much help, just wanted you to know that there are others who are facing the same problems at this particular time.

Take care.



Registered User
Apr 12, 2008
Hello Poppet

My sister in law starting leaving the door unlocked, because she struggled to understand the UPVC door, even though she had it installed 20 years ago at least.
Then there was the having no concept of time, whether it was day or night.
She sat up all night, mainly asleep, with the curtains wide open and all the lights on. Then she would go to bed in the afternoon, get up and start all over again. She seem to be sleeping mostly, this I believe was down to the halloperidol 3 times a day.
Then there is the matter of not being able to work out how to use simple household appliances, turning the telly on, even the vacuum. Then there was the other safety issues of putting a kettle on, leaving the oven on and forgetting to turn it off.
In the end she became frustrated with herself more than anything, but this frustration would be turned on my husband, who of course was only trying to help.
She is now happy and settled in full time care, and basically can do nothing for herself, although she is adamant she can so we just go along with her for the sake of peace.
Having home care is fine, but there comes a point where the person needs to be constantly watched, for their own safety, a little like having a toddler just learning to get about.

May you have strength to carry out what you need to do, and your never alone when your on here.

Margaret W

Registered User
Apr 28, 2007
North Derbyshire

I don't think its the unlocked doors that are a problem (my mother in law who had lived in the same house since her birth, as had her father, grandfather and great-grandfather) didn't see the necessity. The problem is in who she might admit to the house. My mum admitted a total stranger at 10.30 p.m. (she thought it was 3 in the afternoon) supposedly from the council. Fortunately her next door neighbour spotted him going in and went round to ask who he was. He legged it and the police never found him. Could have been disastrous for my mother.




Registered User
Apr 26, 2008
Risk Assessment

Hi Poppet,
Sorry to hear you've reached the stage of trying to decide whats best. My mum is a wanderer. She was staying out all day, getting confused about times and going out at night and looking for relatives who had been dead for 40 years. She always found her way home but everyone agreed she was putting herself at a level of risk that the care plan at home couldn't mitigate- she could not be kept safe. She didn't want to go into a home. I have power of attorney so I made that decision with the backing of health care professionals. It wasn't easy. I felt and still do feel guilty. But then if I left her at home and she was run over or mugged or worse, I would never forgive myself. It would have been the equivalent of leaving a small child home alone, something you just wouldn't do. Wandering wasn't mum's only problem but it played its part. So my experience was I argued that I wasn't prepared to wait until something really bad happened to mum. She ended up in hospital a few times (panic attacks) and had a few falls. That was enough for me. Its never going to be easy. Taking away the independance of the person that taught you to walk, talk and basically do everthing is just so unfair. I think I just cried for weeks before hand and after. But I absolutely know I did the right thing. Mums still not settled in the home and thats presenting new problems but hey - one day at a time as I keep being told. ;)


Registered User
Dec 10, 2006
Ilford, Essex
Hello Poppet,
My mum also does not lock her back door. It started when I had new windows and doors put in for her safety!!! The old ones could easily have been lifted out by someone. Now I have made things worse because at least before she knew how to lock the door. Its funny how she can unlock it though. Anyway, I am now in the process of having her moved into a care home which she is totally unaware of. But, after many deliberations, I have decided that it is for her safety. As other people have said, I could never live with myself if something happened to her while she was at home. So the lesser of two evils is having her in a nursing home which she absolutely does not want but where she will be safe, looked after and have company. I will just have to take each day as it comes when she finally goes into the home but at least I will be able to sleep at night (well, sort of!!)
It is all very difficult to make such life changing decisions for someone but your MIL is not capable of making her own, although she probably thinks she is and so for her safety and your peace of mind, you should do the 'right' thing.
Thinking of you.
Sharon x
P.S. This, of course, is not her only problem, she cannot look after herself at all, even down to getting a drink of water from the tap. She has lost all idea of hygiene, is not really sure where she is, looks for her mum and dad (who both died over 25 years ago) all the time and on and on and on.... But, of course, there is nothing wrong with her!!!!! x


Registered User
Oct 4, 2006
Hi Poppet,
My mum is getting increasingly like this and we are wondering weathr a warden controlled place might be the way to go? We are only just looking into it so not sure how it works or weather she would be eligible for one but we thought it might be worth a try as there is no way she would consider going into a NH just yet as in a lot of ways she is still very independant.
With being in warden contrlled anyone trying to get into the propeties would be monitored and there would always people around to keep an eye out.
hope this might be some help.



Registered User
Aug 3, 2007

thanks for all your replies...lots of familiar stories there then;)

we have considered warden assisted etc...and as with so many things the idea of something new is going to confuse her so much so i think that if we did 'move her' it would need to be the once to reduce the trauma...

she doesnt recognise her own home as hers quite frequently now so a move is definately lurking i think...i too am in the frame of mind that i would find it hard to accept something avoidable happening to her...but at the end of the day its not my decision and i can see how hard it must be to make that decision for your own mother.