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Talk About The Midnight Rambler May 7, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Humor, Mindfulness.

StreetlightWhen mom moved in with my younger brother and his family, my techie sibling set up motion detectors, infared lights, and alarms to monitor mom’s nocturnal wanderings and midnight rambles.

If she walks from bedroom to bathroom and back, it doesn’t break the beam and no alarm sounds.

If she walks outside the expected trajectory, an alarm goes off and my brother heads down to investigate.

One week, the alarm went off in my brother’s bedroom at 1 am, 3 am, and midnight on two different nights:

* The first time she said she was going marketing with my brother’s wife.
* The second time she said she was heading out for a walk.
* The last time she said she got up to make coffee for my other brother (who was sound asleep . . . 2000 miles away).

Scruffy-CatEach time, my brother managed to direct mom back to bed . . . with only minimal disruption to the household’s beauty sleep.

Aah . . . that’s better!

TIP: Parents of teens (prone to wandering in the wee hours) might also find this type of technology useful.



1. Don - May 7, 2015

Must have been extremely difficult.

nrhatch - May 7, 2015

My little bro is a stellar solution finder with vast techie skills and experience. For him, wiring the system was as easy as writing a blog post.

Dealing with mom’s creeping senility and loss of cognitive capability has been a challenge for all of us.

2. L. Marie - May 7, 2015

It’s hard to watch a parent age, isn’t it? You do what you can. The motion detectors were a good idea. I hope your brother can get some sleep.

nrhatch - May 7, 2015

It is hard . . . but I had a good conversation with mom yesterday afternoon and SHE is happy and content. Much more so than when she had more autonomy and freedom AND responsibility.

Now, she doesn’t have a care in the world most days.

L. Marie - May 7, 2015

I’m glad your mom is in good spirits. My parents are older. It’s hard on my dad.

nrhatch - May 7, 2015

When dad was still alive, both of them were overwhelmed by house, yard, meals, bills, daily maintenance, doctor’s appts., etc.

Mom is more content and less stressed without all those concerns to juggle. And when she gets “bored” there is always a good book to read (even if she doesn’t always retain the nuances of plot).

3. Silver in the Barn - May 7, 2015

I didn’t realize that your mother was going through this. How very fortunate she is to have landed at your brother’s where he is obviously taking such good care of her. Motion detectors are a stroke of brilliance in this situation.

nrhatch - May 7, 2015

They have enabled my brother and SIL to sleep easy at night knowing that mom is where mom is meant to be.

And the fact that mom refers to my SIL as an “angel” helps me sleep easy too.

Silver in the Barn - May 7, 2015

I bet. Sleep deprivation – which so many caregivers suffer from – can lead to a multitude of other problems including just plain feeling miserable and resentful. So anything they can do to get a good night’s sleep is vital to the success of this endeavor.

nrhatch - May 7, 2015

So far, so good ~> sleep is soooo restorative!

4. Pix Under the Oaks - May 7, 2015

The motion detectors really do a great thing in your Mom’s situation. Your Mom is in a good place where she can spend time with her grandchildren and your brother’s techie skills are so helpful.

nrhatch - May 7, 2015

It’s been a WIN~Win~WIN for mom and my brother assures me that they are OK with the arrangement, at least for NOW. My SIL is a STAR in my book.

5. granny1947 - May 7, 2015

Hats off to your brother!!!

nrhatch - May 7, 2015

Hip Hip Hooray!

6. Jill Weatherholt - May 7, 2015

What a terrific son, your parents raised…and daughter too!

nrhatch - May 7, 2015

My parents did a pretty good job with the four of us . . . with only the occasional mishap or misplaced child:


7. JOriginal Muse - May 7, 2015

My mom is in the early stages of dementia… However, her rambling is in the form of incessantly repeated stories… on and on and on… Someday we may need those motion detectors when she starts scooting around the house in her walker at her former pace 😉

nrhatch - May 7, 2015

Maybe she repeats the stories that she most wants to remember? That’s what my great aunt Edie did to hang on to the stuff that meant the most to her.

I thought little bro’s solution was perfect. When mom was here, I had to sleep with one ear open to make sure that she was OK.

8. William D'Andrea - May 7, 2015

Little Brother is watching?

nrhatch - May 7, 2015

Yup. He and his wife are mom’s guardian angels!

9. Kate Crimmins - May 7, 2015

However good the solution is, this must be a trying time for your brother. Kudos to him. Let’s hope that this stage will last for a long time and doesn’t get too out of hand.

nrhatch - May 7, 2015

Most nights, mom sleeps through the night. She sounds so much more relaxed and peaceful than she did when her plate overflowed with decisions to be made, errands to run, and appointments to keep.

My SIL is da bomb!!! And my brother helps keep a watchful eye on mom. I just wish they lived “around the corner” (instead of 2000 miles away) so I could visit mom and give them a break once a week.

10. suzicate - May 7, 2015

At the nursing home where my MIL currently resides are several patients with ankle monitors. I assumed they were Alzheimer patients. She asked one what her bracelet was for and she replied, “oh, that’s in case I decide to go outside without asking for help.”

nrhatch - May 7, 2015

GPS technology is another great way to monitor movements without unduly limiting freedom and autonomy.

Much better than being straight-jacketed!

anotherday2paradise - May 7, 2015

What a wonderful and caring son your brother is! Your stories gave me a wry smile, as my own mom is at a similar stage of her life.

nrhatch - May 7, 2015

I hope that you manage to get over to SA to celebrate her 90th with her!

11. Grannymar - May 7, 2015

Those motion detectors and GPS braclet, are wonderful, allowing freedom and independence for the frail & vulnerable.

nrhatch - May 7, 2015

Yes . . . freedom and independence for them and peace of mind and much needed SLEEP for their caregivers.

12. colonialist - May 7, 2015

A refinement to save personal involvement might be the alarms triggering a soothing recording saying, ‘It’s not the right time for that now; you should get back to bed.’

nrhatch - May 7, 2015

Haha! Might not work for the hearing impaired . . . or the easily confused:

“Ethel? Is that you Ethel? You want to go for a walk with me? If we leave now, we can beat the traffic!”

colonialist - May 7, 2015

I see what you mean. Oops.

nrhatch - May 7, 2015

We’ve had our fair share of “oops” moments as we navigate the terrain.

13. Tiny - May 7, 2015

That sounds like a great solution to a potentially difficult situation. Now everyone can sleep knowing that they’ll wake up if and when needed. Sometimes technology is great.

nrhatch - May 7, 2015

It has its uses! Especially when it advances nights of sound sleep.

14. NancyTex - May 7, 2015

Your brother is like MacGyver! 🙂

nrhatch - May 7, 2015

Yes! He’s always coming up with creative solutions to thorny problems. My sister’s husband too ~> and MacGyver happened to be one of his favorite shows.

15. brickhousechick - May 8, 2015

Oh, what a difficult situation for your brother. What a smart man though! Thank Goodness my kids are older but this would have been so useful!

nrhatch - May 8, 2015

Thanks, BHC! He and my angel of a SIL seem OK with the status quo . . . most days (and nights). That may change once their youngest flies the nest next Spring.

brickhousechick - May 9, 2015

That’s the true meaning of family. 🙂

nrhatch - May 9, 2015

I always got a laugh out of Erma Bombeck’s definition ~ she described family as “the ties that bind . . . and gag.” :mrgreen:

16. Three Well Beings - May 9, 2015

It’s an encouragement to know that there is technology like this available, allowing a family to care for their parents at home rather than be forced to put them in a facility for their safety. From what you’re describing your mother is doing well in your brother’s home. I’m so glad, Nancy. It isn’t easy getting older, and it’s even harder watching parents go through significant changes. It’s nice when there’s an example of a difficult circumstances being handled very well!

nrhatch - May 10, 2015

Thanks, Debra! My mom is a LUCKY DUCK to have landed in D&J’s pond ~ as a result, we are all breathing lighter.

17. Val Boyko - May 11, 2015

I so enjoyed reading this and the comments Nancy. Your mom is in caring loving hands … Being at peace with this is truly a gift.

nrhatch - May 11, 2015

Thanks, Val. She sounded great when I talked with her yesterday. Her only complaint ~> “It SNOWED last night! In May!”

Happy Mother Nature’s Day!

Val Boyko - May 11, 2015

Happy Mother Nature’s Day indeed! With all her surprises and gifts.

nrhatch - May 12, 2015

She does things HER way!

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