One of the most important things any family member can do to keep a dementia patient safe in their own home is to make sure that all exterior doors in the home are properly secured. This may seem like a simple task, but it’s actually quite important and can be tricky to do correctly.
Wandering is a common symptom of dementia, and patients may try to leave the house without realizing where they’re going or why. If doors aren’t properly secured, your senior loved one could easily wander outside and get lost or injured.
Alzheimer’s disease causes people to lose their ability to recognize familiar places and faces. It’s common for a person living with dementia to wander or become lost or confused about their location, and it can happen at any stage of the disease.Alzheimer’s Association
Some things that we’ll go over in this article are some safety device tools like these…
- smart locks
- motion sensors
- baby safety door knob covers
- magnetic door alarms
- alarms with a monitoring service
- and tips on how to keep your senior loved one safe
In this article, we’ll share some tips on how to properly secure doors for dementia sufferers and Alzheimer’s patients. By following these tips, you can help to keep your loved from opening doors or windows. This keeps them safe and reduces the risk of them wandering away from home.
Why Do Dementia Patients Want To Leave The House?
One patient that I remember working with at a nursing home was always trying to walk out of the facility every afternoon. If I remember right it was always around 4 pm.
When we spoke with his family we found out that he used to go to his local bar every day at that time.
So, the recreational therapist and myself got together and we created a “bar” in the lobby. We served juice and snacks and we guided him to that bar every day.
It was the best way to connect with him and it worked like a charm and we didn’t have to worry about him wandering away any longer.
There are a number of reasons why dementia patients may want to leave the house. Sometimes, they may feel restless and want to go for a walk or explore their neighborhood.
Other times, they may want to visit family or friends. And still other times, they may be trying to return to their former home.
What’s important to remember is that each person with dementia is unique, so it’s important to try to understand why your loved one wants to leave the house.
Once you know the reason, you can work on finding a solution that will meet their needs and keep them safe.
Here’s a list of some other common reasons why seniors with dementia wander:
Feeling restless or bored. Try to find ways to provide them with stimulation and activity at home. This might include starting a project together, such as planting a garden or working on a jigsaw puzzle.
Or, you could set up a regular schedule of outings, such as going for walks or visiting the library.
Feeling anxious or confused. It’s important to provide them with reassurance and support. You might want to try creating a visual schedule of activities for the day, which can help your loved one feel more in control.
Or, you could try using distraction techniques, such as music or aromatherapy, to help calm and focus them.
Familiar surroundings: People with dementia often wander because they are looking for a familiar place or person. Keeping them in a familiar environment, a safe place can help reduce their desire to wander.
Keeping furniture in a similar way as it has always been can also help to decrease a sense of anxiety.
Seeking the bathroom: Someone with dementia may simply be looking for a bathroom but unable to find it. Putting the word “bathroom” on the bathroom door and/or a photo of a toilet can help your senior loved one to find it when he/she needs it.
Looking for a light switch: If the light switches are the same color or similar color as the wall, it may be difficult for someone with dementia to distinguish the switch from the wall. So, either cover it with a colored wall paper or contact paper, or paint it.
Anything that you can do to make it easy for them to see and find light switches.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that each person with dementia is unique and will have their own individual needs.
By working closely with your loved one, and their care team, you can help create a plan that meets their specific needs and helps them feel more comfortable at home.
If you’re worried about your loved one’s safety, or they are showing signs of severe anxiety or distress, it’s important to seek professional help.
A care team can assess the situation and provide support and guidance on how to best care for your loved one.
Tips On Products To Help Keep Seniors With Dementia From Wandering Away
Here are some tips on how to secure a door for someone with dementia:
Remove potential hazards: Make sure there are no objects near exit points that a patient could trip over. Also, remove any items that could be used to prop open a door.
Stop signs: It may seem too simple but for some seniors with dementia, just putting up a stop sign or strip barrier on the door can be enough to prevent them from trying to go outside.
Window sensors: In addition to alarms on the doors, I would also recommend window sensors as well. This way, if someone with dementia tries to open a window, an alarm will sound.
Locked gate: Make sure that your outdoor gates are also locked with the type of lock that would be difficult for someone with dementia to open.
Use a door alarm: A door alarm is a great way to alert you if a door is opened. This can be especially useful at night when you may not be able to hear a door opening.
This alarm from Flyoukki is a wireless battery powered small but loud alarm.
Install locks: If you have doors that don’t have locks, consider installing them. The keyless locks are currently the best type for households with a senior suffering from dementia.
Use a door stop: A door stop can help keep a door from being opened. This can be helpful if the doorstop is the same color as the floor. Oftentimes it’s difficult for older adults to distinguish object if they are the same color.
Install an automatic door closer: This can help keep a door from being left open.
Check out these options of automatic door closers.
Use a security system: A security system can help you keep track of who is coming and going from your home. This can be especially helpful if you have a patient who is prone to wandering.
My Simplisafe security system alerts me every time a door or window opens.
Talk to your neighbors: Let your neighbors know that you have someone with dementia living in your home. Ask them to keep an eye out for any unusual activity.
Hide keys: Whether it’s the front door keys or the car keys, keep them hidden and out of reach from seniors with dementia.
Use surveillance: Surveillance cameras can help you keep an eye on your home. This can be helpful if you have a patient who is prone to wandering.
Here are several video monitoring devices that you can consider using.
Use a tracking device: A tracking device can help you find a patient who has wandered away from home. This can be helpful if you have a patient who is prone to wandering.
Consider shoes with a GPS tracking device.
Get a dog: A trained service dog can help you keep a patient from leaving the house. This can be helpful if you have a patient who is prone to wandering.
These are just a few of the ways that you can secure a door for anyone suffering from dementia.
Door Locks For Dementia Patients
One of the best ways to keep your loved ones with dementia safe is to install door locks that will prevent them from wandering off. You may find that some child locks can work very well.
There are a variety of door locks on the market that are designed specifically for dementia patients, and they can be a great way to give you peace of mind.
The first thing to consider when choosing door locks for dementia patients is the type of lock you want to install.
You can see a variety of them by clicking here or visit your local hardware store.
Just make sure that if you have standard doors, that the lock you choose fits your particular doors.
There are keyed locks, which require a key to open, and there is also another type of locks that is keyless. Some use a push button (after typing in a code), others require a fingerprint scan.
Not having to fumble for a key can be important, especially for someone with dementia who may become frustrated.
There are many products on the market that cater to people with dementia. Some of these products are specially designed to help prevent wandering. Keyless locks are one type of product that can be used to help keep a person with dementia safe.
There are many different kinds of keyless locks available. Some require a code to be entered, while others can be opened with a fingerprint scan.
Door locks can be a great way to keep a patient safe and secure. They can also help to keep the patient’s belongings safe. When choosing door locks, it is important to consider the needs of the patient and the budget of the patient.
With a little bit of research, patients can find the perfect door lock for their needs.
What Is A Confounding Door Lock?
In short, a confounding door lock is a type of locking mechanism that is designed to make it difficult for unauthorized individuals to access a particular area.
These locks typically consist of multiple locking bolts that must be aligned in order to open the door, making them much more difficult to pick than traditional locks.
In addition, confounding door locks often have additional features such as keypads or fingerprint scanners that further increase the security of the lock.
While confounding door locks can provide a high level of security, they can also be quite difficult for authorized individuals to use.
For this reason, it is important to carefully consider the needs of your particular application before selecting a confounding door lock. In some cases, a simpler lock may be more appropriate.
If you are looking for a high-security door lock for your home or business, a confounding door lock may be the right choice for you.
However, be sure to consider all of your options before making a final decision.
A top lock, like the GlideLok Child Safety one is fastened to the top of the door. If your senior loved one is unable to reach that lock, then this could certainly work.
Door Alarms For Dementia Patients
There are a number of door alarms available for dementia patients that can help to keep them safe and secure. These door alarms are designed to alert caregivers or family members when a patient attempts to leave a designated area, such as a room or home.
Door alarms are not just for external doors and windows!
They can also be used to monitor a patient’s movement within a particular area. Just place them on or by interior doors to help monitor where you loved one is.
Door alarms can be a valuable tool for caregivers of dementia patients, as they can help to prevent patients from wandering off and becoming lost. They can also help to ensure that patients are not able to access dangerous or harmful areas.
Many come with a monitoring service that can alert a family member via their mobile phone if there’s a problem.
There are a variety of door alarm systems available on the market, so it is important to select a system that is appropriate for the needs of the patient.
Some door alarm systems are more sophisticated than others, and may include features such as GPS tracking or two-way voice communication.
Door alarms can be an effective way to keep dementia patients safe, but it is important to select the right system for the needs of the patient. With a little research, you should be able to find a door alarm system that meets the needs of your loved one.
If you are looking for a door alarm system for a dementia patient, you may want to consider the following factors:
- The size of the unit. Some door alarms are small enough to be placed on a keychain, while others are larger and must be mounted on a wall.
- The type of sensor. Some door alarms use motion sensors, while others use pressure sensors.
- The range of the unit. Some door alarms have a limited range, while others can be used from anywhere in the house.
- The price. Door alarm systems can vary widely in price, so it is important to compare prices and features before making a purchase.
Magnetic Door Alarms
When choosing a door alarm system for a dementia patient, it is important to consider all of these factors in order to find the best product for their needs. With a little bit of research, you should be able to find the perfect door alarm system for your loved one.
Simplisafe is an example of a magnetic door alarm. One of the things that I love about Simplisafe is that you can just purchase additional window sensors, units for garage doors, etc.
You simply place one part of the unit on the door frame, and the other part on the door itself, next to each other. When the door is opened or closed, it triggers an alarm / sound.
No need for power tools, they simply use adhesive to stick to the door frame or window frame.
Door Stop Signs For Seniors With Dementia
For some older adults with dementia, simply knowing whether they should enter or exit a room can be confusing. Door stop signs are an easy and effective way to help those with dementia navigate their environment and reduce anxiety.
Door stop signs are available in a variety of materials, including plastic, metal, and wood. They can be placed on both the door handle and the door itself, depending on the individual’s needs.
You can see a variety of ones to choose from here.
When choosing door stop signs, it is important to select ones that are contrasting in color to the door or walls around them. This will make them more visible and less likely to be missed by someone with dementia. It is also important to choose signs that are easily readable.
Some door stop signs come with adhesive strips that make them easy to install. Others require screws or nails for installation. If possible, it is best to choose a sign that can be removed without damaging the door or surrounding area.
Door stop signs are an important part of creating a safe environment for someone with dementia. By choosing the right signs and installing them in the proper locations, you can help to prevent accidents and injuries due to wandering.
What Are 7 Interventions For Wandering?
There are a variety of interventions that can be used to reduce or prevent wandering in people with dementia. Some of these interventions include:
1. Lots of exercise: For some seniors with dementia, if they are kept physically active for several hours they can become too tired to wander.
2. Use of physical barriers: Physical barriers, such as gates or door alarms, can help to limit access to areas where the person is likely to wander off.
3. Hard to turn door knobs: For some seniors with fine motor problems or arthritic hands, it may be a good idea to install round doorknobs that are smooth. These can be difficult for them to turn and open the door.
4. Recent photos: If your loved one does leave the house, make sure you have a recent photo of them to show to police or others who can help you find them.
5. Use of electronic tracking devices: Electronic tracking devices, such as GPS-enabled watches or bracelets, can help to track the person’s whereabouts if they do wander off.
There are more and more GPS devices coming out on the market and I personally think it’s a great way to help family members to keep track of their loved ones and help to keep them safe.
6. Use of visual cues: Visual cues, such as signs or pictures, can help to remind the person of their surroundings and where they are supposed to be.
7. Use of support animals: Support animals, such as dogs or cats, can provide comfort and companionship to the person, which may help to reduce their urge to wander.
Can You Lock A Dementia Patient In Their Home?
It’s a difficult question to answer, because there are many factors to consider. Ultimately, the decision should be made by the patient’s doctor, in consultation with the patient and their family.
There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re considering locking a dementia patient in their home.
First, it’s important to make sure that the patient is safe. If they’re likely to wander off and get lost, or if they’re a danger to themselves or others, then locking them in may be the best option.
Second, it’s important to consider the patient’s quality of life. If they’re locked in their home, they won’t be able to go out and interact with the world. This can be extremely isolating and depressing, so it’s important to make sure that they have access to activities and people that they enjoy.
Third, you need to think about the practicalities of locking someone in their home. It’s important to make sure that there’s someone who can check on the patient regularly, and that they have access to food, water, and bathroom facilities.
Fourth, it’s important to talk to the patient’s doctor before making any decisions. They may have medical conditions that make confinement dangerous, or they may be able to offer other options that would be more suitable.
Finally, it’s important to remember that this is a difficult decision, and one that should be made with the patient’s best interests at heart. There’s no easy answer, but if you think it’s the best option for the patient, then it’s worth considering.