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Security, monitoring activity and home cameras of dementia suffers

Sue Mardon

New member
Sep 8, 2021
1
0
I am interested to hear about the experience of other care givers who use home security to monitor dementia suffers living alone. I am considering a camera outside the front door to see coming and going. Also in the kitchen as this is where most risk is. Someone suggested to also have voice connection so I can speak to my father via the cameras. At first I thought this would scare him, however as he is already having hallucinations and has several 'friends' I am starting to think it may work. I appreciate each sufferer is different, but any incite into experiences with using these technologies would be much appreciated.
 

Gwenu

New member
Jan 3, 2020
3
0
Hi Sue,
my MIL had frequent hallucinations and delusions (Lewy Body).

We started to have a number of problems including night wandering due to day night mix ups, unlocking her front door repeatedly and falls. She had a falls ‘watch’ but she would remove it and hide it as she thought it was a gold one she’d had from childhood. If she fell when wearing it and heard the response person (who she believed to be her neighbour opposite watching her) she would tell them very convincingly she was fine. We found her a few times, or carers did on the days they came in, on the floor, only partially clothed and fast asleep. We had no way of telling how long she had been there.
So we invested in a camera. Our dementia team physio was helpful in reassuring us this was the right action to take. As it triggered on movement to record and track it proved invaluable. We were able to site it high on a bookshelf where it showed her top half when walking (to preserve dignity if not properly clothed), the top of her head when she shuffled around on the floor if she fell, had a turning view that allowed sight of the front door and the kitchen door. It also tracked her crossing the hall way to the bathroom. And as a mirror on the opposite wall reflected her sitting in her favourite sofa place we could check all was okay easily. I will also point out we lived a 20 min walk, 5 min drive away so alerts were useful.

We were helped by having a simply laid out bungalow with glass in the doors. The camera sent movement and ‘baby crying’ alerts to my phone then I could check live if an ‘emergency dash’ was needed. As her TV triggered movement at times and having it up full volume set off the the baby crying function this was useful.

Over the months it showed us her answering the falls call people and persuading them not to call us - the camera triggered a night alert to my phone so I accessed the camera live and heard her conversation although she was on the floor and out sight. She was okay but unable to get up. That led to me asking the falls service not to ask ‘are you okay Mrs …’ but ‘are you on the floor Mrs …’. Once that was sorted we silenced the camera alerts overnight, but would often wake to hours of alerts and footage.
Skimming through these we saw just how frequent her night time wanderings were and how distressed she was by finding multiple living rooms in her home and knocking on her bedroom door repeatedly.
We learned that she was afraid of the reflections in the french windows from the TV overnight, so we put it on a timer so the TV switched off for at least 10 hours.
We realised that she shouted a lot at times when alone. Thankfully her adjoining neighbour was deaf too.

Much more was evident. Some things we could mitigate, others left us feeling we couldn’t do enough to help her.

When she tried to call us by telephone but couldn’t manage to hear us or understand we did use the microphone function. As she thought she was talking on the telephone it worked once or twice. When we tried to use it to try to head off a dangerous situation (determined to carry a chair down steps to the conservatory) while husband hurried over she wouldn’t listen. Her increasing delusions made it scary I think. We tried making the phone ring then speaking. Again mixed success.

The camera we had was a reasonable price and I would say worth a try if it can help you to not have to ‘be there’ all the time. My MIL prized her independence until very late on and it helped us give her some measure of that. What it showed was at times heartbreaking though.
Hope that’s helpful.
 

Lemondrizzle

Registered User
Aug 26, 2018
181
0
I agree that it can be heartbreaking to see the PWD at times but we too found security cameras invaluable. We actually started with Skype and then progressed to cameras we could speak through so my OH could talk through MIL locking up at night. It was quite upsetting when we installed a hall camera and discovered that, contrary to our belief, that MIL was frequently spending the night time sitting in her hall. A night time care call was instigated which really helped as once she was put to bed she usually stayed there. The cameras meant MIL stayed at home until her last illness as we were able to react where necessary and also have discussions with the carers who were happy to use the Skype and/or cameras to let us know of problems and vice versa.
 

JHA

Registered User
Aug 7, 2021
53
0
Like you Sue I am considering cameras for my mom. She is home alone with Lewy Body Dementia I am a 15 minute drive from her she is currently having temporary carers provided by the Council after a hospital stay and further assessment at a care home.

Can I ask if care companies 'like' cameras as I guess it would make them more accountable. I am in the process of sourcing alternative carers which my mom would have to self fund.
 

Lynmax

Registered User
Nov 1, 2016
821
0
We installed Ring cameras outside and inside Mums house and paid extra to be able to record the footage. I believe they were useful to keep mum living independently at home for several years.

The ones outside monitored movement all around the house and we also had a Ring doorbell. We ( me and my two siblings) got alerts if someone rang the bell and most times were able to speak to them before mum got to the door - to get rid of cold callers! After she was scammed out of money at the door I was able to show the footage to the police who knew the man and arrested him for fraud. The voice recording was essential for it be be fraud, they have to be heard asking for money.

Mum did not wander outside but did go to the local shops several times a day so the cameras were useful to check that she had got back home. Also she hated people parking in “ her space” outside the house and would ho out and like around at the car, pulling at the wipers or kicking it! We used to shout through the microphones to tell mum to go back inside for a cup of tea, this worked and we then phoned her for a distracting chat once she was inside. I don’t know why mum did as she was told or what she thought about voices coming from the house as she never mentioned it. I did warn our neighbours though in case they heard voices in the street! On one occasion, I shouted at mum when she was outside but partially hidden behind a bush. I scared a policeman she was chatting to about the car who I had not seen but luckily he found it funny and then escorted mum indoors and made her a cup of tea.

The ones indoors were in kitchen ( could also see into the hall) and in her living room. The carers who went in at weekends to give us a break from daily visits, were happy for them to be there and actually welcomed the use. They showed us mums random sleep patterns which concerned us but unfortunately did not alert us to a fall she had in her bedroom which led to a long stay in hospital and subsequent move to a care home.

I would recommend cameras as a means of supporting people to live alone, they gave us peace of mind and helped mum to remain independent. Mum was not aware that they were there although I suspect she had an inkling as a couple of times she waved or pulled a face at the outside cameras!
 

Lemondrizzle

Registered User
Aug 26, 2018
181
0
@JHA - Our care company manager welcomed the cameras.
@Lynmax - We wondered why MIL was so compliant with instructions given by a remote voice but until the very latter stages she would respond when called. This was particularly important as she lost the ability to understand what the telephone was long before her last illness.

We started with lounge and kitchen cameras. They could see the hall but the kitchen and lounge doors were closed at night so unless MIL wandered back in she couldn't be seen. The hall one was installed to cover the front door.
 

Gwenu

New member
Jan 3, 2020
3
0
Can I ask if care companies 'like' cameras as I guess it would make them more accountable. I am in the process of sourcing alternative carers which my mom would have to self fund.
Hi JHA,
in our experience our care company was very supportive. We talked with them before going ahead and we’re told it was fairly common now and our caregivers were quite used to working with them. They knew where the camera was and why we needed it and seemed oblivious to it. In courtesy to our caregivers we rarely responded to any video alerts during the visits, though, when on one morning a caregiver arrived to find MIL on floor (wrist alarm having been hidden) she called her office. They in turn called me and suggested I access the camera to see the situation and why they were calling for my husband and an ambulance.
 

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