Is It Illegal to Lock a Person in House with Dementia

Is It Illegal to Lock a Person in House with Dementia?

When a loved one gets dementia and starts wandering, having worst-case scenario thoughts is inevitable for most caregivers.

Wandering dementia patients have been hit by a car before or gone missing, and we all want to prevent this from happening to our loved ones.

It might look easier and more caring to lock a dementia patient in the house, but it also doesn’t sit well within their rights.

So when is it crossing the line to lock a dementia patient in the house, and when is it ok? We have a detailed answer in this article.

Is It Illegal to Lock a Person in House with Dementia (Quick Answer)

To lock someone with dementia in the house alone is illegal. When you lock up a person even in their own house, and they cannot access the outside, it is called false imprisonment. Dementia patients being locked up alone in the house when nobody is around is dangerous.

Dementia patients cannot respond timely to fires or forced break-ins, and if they are locked up alone, they could get hurt in case there is an accident at the house.

When Is It Okay To Lock the House With a Dementia Patient?

You cannot lock a dementia patient alone in the house, as this could be dangerous in case of an accident. However, if there is a caregiver with them in the house, you can lock the house but give them access to outside when they need it. When a dementia patient has 24/7 supervision, the external doors can be locked to keep them from wandering or allowing strangers in.

Note that when there is a caregiver with the dementia patient, they can access the door and unlock it when needed, unlike when the dementia patient is alone and locked up in the house.

It is also more secure to lock all the doors except the bedroom door when you are in the house with a dementia patient at night. Dementia patients tend to sleepwalk and have fall accidents.

When Is Locking the Door With a Dementia Patient Against the Law?

If you are a caregiver to a parent with dementia, it might seem easier and more innocent to lock their bedroom up at night or the door if they live alone, but this can be termed liberty deprivation.

Locking the bedroom means that your loved one with dementia cannot go outside even when they need to. Locking external doors for a dementia patient not to access is also illegal as you would be limiting their liberty.

How to Keep a Dementia Patient from Wandering Without Going Against Their Rights

Wandering in dementia patients is dangerous. This could result in accidents or a dementia patient getting lost. If you live near a busy road or a highway with a dementia patient, keeping them from wandering is a priority. This is how you can do it without going against their rights:

24/7 Supervision

Dementia patients even in their early stages need supervision all the time. This is the best way to monitor their movements, behavior, and symptoms. With full-time supervision, dementia patients can be accompanied when going for walks or when they need to do some gardening or get some air in the backyard.

Dementia Nursing Home

When it becomes impossible to prevent a dementia patient from wandering, it may be time to consider getting them admitted into a nursing home. Nursing homes are secure and have all-time supervision for dementia patients. This is a better option than keeping them locked up alone in the house.

Some dementia patients refuse care, and it might take lots of convincing to get them into a nursing home. With the progression of dementia and when symptoms keep getting worse, it is good to consider a good nursing home for dementia.

Invest in Door Alarms and Door Locks

Door alarms alert you when a dementia patient is trying to access the front or back door to go outside. This helps you accompany them to where they want to go or prevent them from wandering.

Interior door locks for dementia patients limit access to rooms where dementia patients can cause accidents or damage sensitive items. For instance, a smart lock with biometrics can limit access to the kitchen where dementia patients can have potential fall accidents.

Check out some of the best door alarms below:

SimpliSafe 8 Piece Wireless Home Security System

 SimpliSafe 12 Piece Wireless Home Security System

Door Open Contact Sensor Alarm

WiFi Door Alarm System


Can You Leave a Dementia Patient Alone?

Dementia patients can be left alone during the initial stages when they can go about their lives comfortably. However, if you notice that a dementia patient has become more dependent on other people and their symptoms are getting worse, they should not be left alone.

Can You Force a Person With Dementia Into a Nursing Home?

Unless the dementia patient cannot make any sound decision, they cannot be forced into a nursing home.

How Long Should a Dementia Patient Stay Home?

As long as their symptoms are manageable with care given at home, dementia patients can stay home.

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