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Would greatly appreciate your advice on having cameras in the home. My mother lives by herself and I’m advocating to install cameras so I can check in on her. They also have talk function so if I see something, she falls, or my mom needs help, I can be there. My mom has a life alert watch but she forgets to put it on and I don’t feel will remember necessarily to press the button to call because of her mental capacity.
My brother has reservations about having cameras due to giving my mom privacy, stating assisted living doesn’t have cameras for residents. I have offered that my brother gets access to this camera too so he can check, but as a the primary caregiver who stops by each day to check on her, he thinks my mom is capable and needs privacy. I’m concerned of my mom falling or something happening when he is not there, since she lives alone. I think in this case, safety should supersede privacy. Thoughts?
I think cameras is a good idea however, I believe there are ‘alert watches’ that can call for help when a fall is detected, perhaps you might be able to try that first?
We did not have cameras when my FIL lived alone, but he was spending half his time at our house. When he moved in full time, I was shocked at how impaired he actually was. We should have moved him much sooner, or had cameras and/or a caregiver for days he was by himself.
As to your brother’s comment, AL may not have cameras because they have enough staff to keep an eye on residents during the day. Many LOs end up moving from AL to MC because they need closer supervision. In both cases, I know we and others had cameras in their rooms. We didn’t have an incident, but we know a fellow resident whose family saw him fall at night (and hit his head) on camera at the MC, and had to call several times to get someone to check on him. They moved him soon after, but the point is that cameras are useful. It’s a question of safety vs. privacy and at some point you have to ask whether safety takes precedence over privacy. It’s not like the camera even has to be pointed directly at the bed or shower, just high enough that you can see they are getting around ok. At MC, we had the camera pointed so that we could see the upper part of my FIL’s body - so we could see that he was getting around, etc.
I remember early on when my mother was in the beginning stages having conversations with my family about cameras and privacy issues. As things progressed, there came a time I wasn't concerned about privacy - only safety - so cameras were used. I also had to use them to keep a watch when caregivers were with her. They are helpful in many ways. Some of the cameras I have keep recordings and I can use those to go back and check certain things.
Perhaps your brother would agree to the cameras if they were used sparingly. Have the cameras there but leave them off until needed. If you can't reach your mother by phone or have a concern, turn the camera on and check in.
My mom has a life alert watch but she forgets to put it on and I don’t feel will remember necessarily to press the button to call because of her mental capacity.
....I think in this case, safety should supersede privacy. Thoughts?
Should she really be living alone if she can't remember to wear a watch or understand it's purpose? What if a smoke detector goes off? Is she fell would she even know to try to crawl for help? Dial a phone?
Have either of you spent a whole day just watching how your mother functions on her own? Checked the dates of the food in her refrigerator etc. How is she heating food? Burnt towels and pans?
Are your brother's visits along the lines of "Hi Mom-- need anything , here's some new toilet paper,taking the trash out See you tomorrow" or is he really in there , checking how she's walking that day, her food supply , is she bathing etc?
If you haven't seen an Elder Law atty and had the paperwork DPOA etc and Medicaid advise given now would be the time --maybe your brother is afraid what care will cost and is stalling that decision.
When reading the input, my thoughts went along the same line as Victoria's. If your mother is not able to remember to put the watch on, nor how to use it or remember to use it, she may be well past the time she needs more care.
Would she know what to do if there was a fire or if another emergency arose, or if a stranger was at her door, or to take her meds at the right time in the same amounts each time; does she remember to lock her doors, does she go outside the house by herself? Can she manage the laundry machines, is she really safe with her stove which is a BIG deal. What about her nutrition and food safety as Victoria has mentioned?
When is the last time that someone stayed at your mother's for several days on a 24 hour basis and having her do all the things she does by herself without helping? It has happened so many times that when that is done, it becomes so evident that far more supported care is really necessary. Seeing her in her own environment is key to reality assessment.
Some ALFs do permit family to put in a camera or two, but not all do. ALFs are NOT adequately staffed to monitor the residents on a frequent basis; It is ASSISTED living, not total care as a nursing home is. The person is expected to be able to get to meals and activities and to care for oneself in their own apartment in a safe manner. Very often, an ALF will permit admission only to find out that their risk doing that has failed, and then the resident is asked to leave. So; you would be greatly assisted in assessment by staying with her for a few days in order to assess her capabilities fully.
Just a thought and perhaps time to have that difficult conversation as to staying with Mom a few days and discussing if she is not safe at home, what can be done - finances also plays heavily in such plans. Cameras can be useful in some but not all situations; you will want to discuss this with your brother further, I would bet. I would want to use them if I had hired help in the house or if my LO was in a NH to ensure quality of care and ensure there is no abuse or neglect.
Let us know how it goes,
Thank you all for your advice. I appreciate it.
My mom has stayed with me and I’ve stayed with her for several days. I don’t believe my mom should be living alone. She forgets that she ate and she repeats the same questions to me. She has fallen twice and I’ve had to help her up. My brother does not think she has these impairments, and I know when he comes to visit her, he only sees her for a snapshot in time; not for the extended period I see her. It is clear we are at odds over her care and I feel his reluctance to have cameras is due to the fact he doesn’t want me to see how often he comes over and stays.
The installation of cameras doesn’t have to be an expensive major production. We got inexpensive cameras for my moms house when it was just part-time caregivers and her at her home. Invaluable!
You can get one camera for under $50 to start, see what you and your bro think. You can both view it, hear her, talk to her through it if needed, look back in time… etc.
Cameras are still an integral part of my moms care and I basically live with her now. Safety is the most important aspect but another wonderful benefit is a little less stress on us, her family, that is trying to do everything we can for her. Anything that can ease our minds, even in the slightest, is very helpful while on this agonizing journey.
Your ease of mind needs to be taken into account too, this is not only about your mom. Anything that can lessen the toll taken on the caregivers mental and physical health should be considered. A continual state of unease sneaks up on us. Advocate for yourself in this. I don’t think we realize detriments to our own health in this caregiving experience until we’ve already deteriorated.
I hope your bro will support you on this.
We recently installed Wyze. Affordable. Easy to setup.
And after 6 months we very happy with the reassurance we have when we can check in even when a caregiver is with her.
We are adding more motion detectors as we find "blindspots".
Our tipping point was a fire that she just watched grow even though I was there only 10 minutes prior, the detectors notified me on my mobile and called the fire department, so I was there to coax my LO out of the house and distracted while the fire team handled the fire.
Better safe and invading privacy than the alternative.
I do not have a camera in her bedroom or bathroom at this time as she is still independently managing dressing and hygiene.
DH had seizures, I bought him a Apple SE watch that he doesn’t wear very often. Watch has a fall feature, it’s only good if he wears it!
Camera is a good idea, I think Amazon has some- I believe there is a monthly fee! U may want to goggle it. Friends who have cameras - love them!
I have a camera in the bedroom. None in the bathrooms as I and caregivers use them too. Mom is never in the bathroom alone anyway.
You’ll be glad you have an eye on her.