• Jenni Perkins

When a sign is a simple solution

My mother lives on her own with significant memory loss. Thankfully (for us) my mother had voluntarily chosen to no longer use her open wood fireplace – one less safety issue! Recently we installed a new split-level air conditioner to provide winter heating. This was a revolution – making the country winters much cosier.

Not long later, we had a couple of calls from concerned neighbours that my mother was putting a cover over the external unit (resulting in a significant fire risk). In checking with my mother, she would explain that she was covering it to protect it from the weather. I would explain that it is designed to be outside and would remove the cover. Next time I visited, the cover would be back in place – questioning of my mother would result in either a denial it was her (someone else must have put it there!), or a concern that it needed a cover in the wet weather. This behaviour was leading to growing concern from neighbours, as well as my mother’s regular support carer at the time, that she was becoming a risk at home on her own.

Then I hit on a solution – I simply positioned a clearly written sign on top of the external unit ‘warning – do not put anything over this unit’. Problem solved – the unit has remained uncovered ever since – and my mother has remained safely at home.

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