Wandering and walking away from the home is a major issue with people suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. Wandering can be catastrophic, resulting in accidents and emotional suffering for both the carer and the patient. While it is common, there are ways you can help to cut the risk of a patient wandering away from the home or a residential facility. Here are some tips for keeping Alzheimer’s sufferers safe.
Why Do Patients Wander?
Wandering is very common in Alzheimer’s patients and there are a number of reasons for this occurrence. Some patients wander out of the door because they believe they have to be at a place they went for years, like the office or their children’s school. Some people wander because they are upset where they are, confused, or bored. Some people try to get back to their old home when they are in a new one.
How to Prevent Wandering
There are a number of things you can do to minimise the risk of a patient wandering from the home or residential care home.
- Install an Alarm
Live in care agencies suggest installing an alarm that is either motion sensing or is triggered when someone steps on something like the doormat. The alarm can sound in the carer’s bedroom, or a mobile alarm can be carried to other parts of the house, so that there is always adequate time to react when someone is leaving the house.
- Install a Chain Lock
A chain lock high on the door or low down may be enough to prevent an Alzheimer’s patient from exiting the home. You may also consider fitting locks that can only be opened with a keypad code, so that emergency services and carers can always get in and out but the patient will not be able to exit.
- Disguise the Door
Sometimes it can be enough to hang a curtain over the door to disguise it, or place a mirror on the back of the door. This is a reasonably unobtrusive way to make it more difficult for a person to recognise that the door represents the exit.
- Alert Neighbours
Make sure that neighbours and local shopkeepers are aware that the patient may wander and give them your phone number to call if they see the patient.
- Provide Distractions
Make sure that the patient has plenty of tasks to occupy them and that they are enjoying their time. Keep them involved in hobbies and ensure they get good social interaction opportunities. This will limit boredom and give them something to stay in the house for.