One of the most frustrating issues many at home caregivers have to contend with is if their elderly parent or senior loved one wanders due to dementia, Alzheimer’s or other cognitive decline.
The bad news is that this trait is not something that will “get better” so the best thing that a caregiver can do is to create an environment in the home to help prevent or at the very least, minimize the dangers that can result from these actions.
So, here are some products that may help you and your senior loved one!
Wandering Response Service
The Alzheimer’s Association has put together a program along with the MedicAlert® Foundation which works to help you to find your missing loved one if they have successfully left their or your home.
You can read about the Wandering Response Service here for more information.
A low tech / low cost solution is to use Door Guards or Stop Signs on a door. These are essentially large signs placed ON the door itself or strapped across the door frame. The reason that these may work is because some elderly with cognitive issues will halt at the STOP sign that is on these products.
This stop sign is a familiar looking object that they can identify with and know to “not enter”.
But of course, everyone is different so let’s look at some other products that you may find works for you.
Keyless door locks are one way to help to keep your loved ones safer and hopefully help to keep them from wandering away.
There are multiple options available as you can see by clicking here – and below is a video that goes over the installation of one of these types of locks.
Prime-Line has a door knob lockout device product that a friend of mine has used since 2014 and his report is that “It works great!”.
GPS Tracking Devices
There is no 100% proof method to keeping someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s from wandering so I would recommend that no matter what other method(s) you use throughout your home, that you also use, if possible, some type of GPS tracking wearable device ON your elderly parent or loved one.
These days – there are multiple different types of wearable devices that you could use that provide GPS tracking.
Invisawear Smart Jewelry – these days, GPS and alert wearables don’t have to look clunky – this beautiful necklace is a piece of jewelry that is also a safety device!
GPS enabled watches from Apple (this particular one also has an anti fall alarm which is pretty cool!).
Dynotag medical id pendants – if your loved one can wear this without removing it or losing it, it may prove helpful.
The GPS SmartSole – These are patented insoles with a built in GPS tracker inside. They fit into most shoes easily and feel like regular insoles. Track your loved one’s location via your desktop web browser, tablet or smartphone. You can also set it up to send text and email alerts if your parent leaves a certain area that has been defined on a map.
The Smart Caregiver mat can alert you when someone gets off the bed.
The Smart Caregiver floor mat can alert you when someone steps on it – so you would place this in an appropriate place in your home.
You may find that you will have to use one or more of these items to give your senior loved one the best possible protection but again, no matter what you choose – I would recommend to use any of the GPS wearable devices because at the end of the day – nothing is 100% full proof.