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Camera for Memory Care
Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 11:56 AM
Joined: 2/26/2019
Posts: 6

My dad is in memory care, and believe he is having problems with a resident who wanders coming into his room uninvited during the day (which my dad does not like), but worse, also at night.   I'm 90% sure this happened at least once, and am concerned that it is still happening.    Of course, since he has Alzheimer's, I realize that I can't rely on what he is telling me, and it may not be happening at all.    

The facility has been zero help in solving this, have said there is nothing they can do to prevent it, and have offered no solutions.    They have put the burden completely on us to solve.   The only thing I have been able to come up with is for them to make sure his door is locked at night, which they have agreed to do, but I'm quite sure they are not doing and occasionally it is being left unlocked.

But the other thing that I'm considering is installing a camera, so we can verify if this is happening or not.    If it is, I need to put more pressure on the facility to do something, and if it isn't, then I don't to be as concerned about it. 

He has no roommate, and I and my sister are his legal guardians (appointed by a court), so there shouldn't be any problems with getting a roommate or his permission.   

The primary restriction that I'm having difficulty meeting is that the device cannot connect to internet or cellular to do electronic transmission.    Finding such a device that internally records both audio and video has been challenging.  I would really like both, if at all possible.   I can find those that do video, but not audio.   

So two questions.

1.  Does anyone have any suggestions for a device that they've used or seen used that would meet those parameters?   

2. Has anyone else had this problem with others going into their LO's room, particularly at night and how have you solved it?


Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 12:11 PM
Joined: 9/10/2021
Posts: 426

Someone may have a better solution - but what comes to mind is a motion-detector dash cam. You can check the memory card and download any info it gives after-the-fact. It doesn't have to be hooked up to any wifi or cellular to record.
May flowers
Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 12:34 PM
Joined: 4/9/2021
Posts: 716

We had an Amazon Echo - it allows certain people (whoever you give permission to) to drop in and see and talk to the LO on video. It doesn’t require answering the phone on their end. A friend of ours used one and caught her father falling out of bed, he was hollering for a while, so she alerted the MC.

Your facility would have to okay using their Wi-Fi for it

Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 1:29 PM
Joined: 10/24/2018
Posts: 1539

My mom's MC had a few wanderers, and the daytime visitors would sometimes irk her early on, and then later amuse her.  I happened to be in her bathroom when the worst wanderer came in, walked to the hassock next to her chair, and stopped (but kept trying to walk, of course). I recorded on my phone the interactions, which involved Mom trying to offer him whatever he might take to go away, growing more and more upset that he wasn't responding. He was an oblivious pacer, which meant that if frail unsteady 105lb Mom had tried to interact physically while he was making his way in, he would have run her right over, with potentially horrific consequences all round. As it was, I was barely able to get him turned around so his feet carried him out.  I sent the video to management, with a note that he'd passed by the nurse station and three nurses to get to Mom's cul-de-sac room in the wing opposite his. They were not appreciative....

One night about 8:00 we returned to her room to find a bright-eyed gentleman peeking up at us from under her covers. Some small quiet hubbub ensued. I think Mom forgot what it was all about by the time the bed got changed! So yes, wanderers are not uncommon. 

Does a Go Pro type camera use wifi or cellular? Or, do you have a spare cell phone to set on recording video overnight? AND, will the facility allow this? Mom's did not, as I found out! But I will say, I wanted the undying electronic record on management's email. 

Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 2:10 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 4346

II would look for a camera that has a high memory storage card that is made for catching out door wild life. It should also be able to loop and have motion sensing to trigger it on. This way you can switch memory cards and take it home to look at. They have crazy restrictions at that place. It sound like they are just trying to place  road blocks.
Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 2:26 PM
Joined: 9/21/2017
Posts: 1494

That the room door would be locked at night , I assume from the outside boggles my mind - fire safety , getting it unlocked in an emergency etc.

Are you happy with the place aside from the maybe phantom wanderer? Are the outside doors locked ? If so, do you really want to maybe have to move him because someone "may" be wandering in ?

Do they do bed checks at night ? Is the wanderer present and asleep  for them all? Then it may be your Dad having a false memory.

If everything else is up to par , I think hard about wanting to push this issue if that person never causes injury. Truth is, any memory care place will have people with memory issues that could roam.


Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 2:50 PM
Joined: 6/19/2018
Posts: 331

Is your dad in actual memory care or an assisted living/ memory care situation? The reason I ask is that in my area, the memory cares that I have been to, do not have locks on resident room doors. The outside doors are secured by keypad locks, but no individual rooms can be locked. Assisted living and assisted living/memory care have lockable doors. 

You have requested that your dad’s door be locked. Can he open it from the inside by himself? If he leaves the room, and the door locks behind him, how will he get back in? Will her carry a key without misplacing it? Can he use it? Will staff have to unlock it for him?

Wandering into others rooms is very common in memory care. Wanderers can also be hunter-gathers and move items around the facility. Staff does their best, but this behavior cannot ever be completely extinguished in a facility. This specific wanderer may stop, but another may start. Right now it is others wandering into Dad’s room. Realize that someday it may be Dad wandering into someone else’s room. No one knows in advance what behavior our loved ones may exhibit. 


Posted: Friday, August 5, 2022 7:55 PM
Joined: 10/24/2018
Posts: 1539

Michael's wildlife camera idea is perfect!
Posted: Saturday, August 6, 2022 6:48 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 3829

I am sorry you and your dad are dealing with this situation.

Some random thoughts-

1. Before installing cameras, read the contract to see if there is any wording that prohibits or restricts this. Upon admission to MC, the contract mom signed specifically outlined the use of cameras and recording devices within the building. There was also a waiver to sign if you would allow the staff to take or use a photograph for marketing or publicity purposes (a resident's 100th birthday or a service project with scouts) -- most families opted out. I would tread carefully in photographing people you don't know.

2. What's the door situation? In my state, MC is required to offer residents a locking door. Dad's automatically locked behind him but could be opened from the inside. (residents were given a key and all staff members had a master key on their persons) All he needed to do to keep visitors and shoppers out was to shut the door. But he wanted his door open and lacked the executive function to understand the cause and effect. Or, he didn't want to deal with unlocking it, so he'd prop it open when he left and return to some rando in his bed or bathroom.

3. Personally, I wouldn't invest in technology to verify this as I don't believe any MCF is going to treat this with the urgency you might hope for even if you can prove it is happening. This is such a common occurrence for them because of the population they serve that they're sort of numb to how some families feel about the intrusions. I wish it was different, but this seems to be a what is thing even in otherwise excellent facilities. 

Posted: Saturday, August 6, 2022 1:39 PM
Joined: 2/26/2019
Posts: 6

Unfortunately connecting to wifi or cellular is not allowed.  It’s part of state law.
Posted: Saturday, August 6, 2022 1:42 PM
Joined: 2/26/2019
Posts: 6

I’ve looked at wildlife trail cams but they don’t appear to record audio.  

And the restrictions are actually state law not just at this facility.  The law permits us to install a camera but it can’t connect to wifi or cellular.  

Rescue mom
Posted: Saturday, August 6, 2022 2:11 PM
Joined: 10/12/2018
Posts: 2710

I largely agree with what HBuzz and JJ said. My mom was in 2 facilities, 2 states, for years. Many other residents had lived in other facilities, and families shared info.

Short version: Wandering into other rooms is a very common thing. It often calls for some give-and-take. It can be alarming, or just irritating. But it does happen, although it’s uncertain if it has indeed happened to him.

People sometimes went in my mothers room, (staff told me) which annoyed her. She told them to get out, or later, ignored them. No real harm done. (This is also a big reason why you don’t want to have valuable or irreplaceable things in their room). 

Most staff will watch out for it, will work to prevent it, but it may not be their top priority at any given moment. Of course if any harm is involved or thought likely, that’s different. But it’s so common, you could move him and it still happens—or he could do it himself. 

May flowers
Posted: Saturday, August 6, 2022 2:14 PM
Joined: 4/9/2021
Posts: 716

If you can’t connect to Wi-Fi or cell, I think you may have to consider a DVR wired system, like this
Posted: Saturday, August 6, 2022 4:54 PM
Joined: 2/26/2019
Posts: 6

Thank you everyone for the suggestions.   Summarizing some the responses here:

1.   Yes my Dad is in actual memory care.  Yes there are locks on the doors that allow them to be locked.  At this point, yes, he can open the door to get out.   He does have a key, doesn't always remember to take it with him.   We've asked for the caregivers to make sure his door is locked at night.  There doors out of the memory care area are locked, can't get out without a code (which they don't even give to family, we always have to get a caregiver to let us out).

2.  Yes we realize that wandering is a general problem.   And I don't hold it against the one that is wandering nor there family.   And yes I realize we could be in the exact same situation.   The facility tells me there is nothing they can do.   I don't believe that, but believe that they are choosing not to do anything due to lack of resources to handle this.   We've asked for solutions, and have had zero response, except when I ask, and they tell me there is nothing they can do.   I was hoping someone else on this forum had experienced this at a facility where their LO was, and could pass along what was done to solve.

3.   While I am a little concerned about what happens during the day (him coming into my Dad's room during the day), I am much more concerned about night time.   Think about what it would mean for anyone (you and me included), to be woken up from a sleep and to have an unknown person in your room.   That would be terrifying for any of us.    That is completely unacceptable at night to me and seems to me that the facility needs to take responsibility for preventing this from happening at night.   And think about what that means if a male wanders into a females room at night.   And in fact, it appears that has happened, but again, with no video, there is no proof.  I won't go into more details about this particular event here, but it's enough to be concerning.

4.   The restriction on connecting over wifi/cellular is a state law restriction, not the facility.  They have other restrictions that may make this not helpful (they have to agree on times, location, field of view, etc.)

5.  My preference is to find a device that records audio as well as video.  As far as I can tell, some of the suggestions are for devices that only do video, although I will have to verify that.  Thanks for the suggestion, I will relook into those.


Posted: Saturday, August 13, 2022 11:51 PM
Joined: 8/28/2021
Posts: 62

These say they record audio:
I'm with you, the wandering disturbs me.

Posted: Sunday, August 14, 2022 10:39 AM
Joined: 2/26/2019
Posts: 6

quartlow2, Thanks!    Just what I was looking for.  Now I have to get details approved with facility.   
Posted: Monday, August 22, 2022 2:43 PM
Joined: 9/10/2018
Posts: 30

Keep in mind most of the trail cameras take pictures not videos and when they take pictures they flash.  I was going to use one of these temporarily in my fathers room but the flash would have drove him crazy.  If you find one that video's or doesn't flash please let me know.  I'm looking also.  Thanks!
Posted: Friday, August 26, 2022 3:30 PM
Joined: 8/25/2022
Posts: 1

Same at my Mom's facility.  You can't use their wi-fi for a camera and you must post a notice on the door that there is a camera in use.  Obviously they don't want one.
May flowers
Posted: Saturday, August 27, 2022 7:01 AM
Joined: 4/9/2021
Posts: 716

Scareyut, did you get this worked out? What did you end up doing?