A disease like dementia makes it hard for those who suffer from it to function as they once did. Dementia wreaks havoc on a person’s memory, turning their familiar surroundings into the unknown. Unfortunately, a disease like dementia can create disorientation and confusion to those who are plagued by it. Besides memory loss and confusion, wandering is one of the most common side effects of dementia.
However, with the proper home security measures in place, you can save your loved one from becoming seriously injured and wandering into a dangerous situation.
The following home security measures are ideal for someone who suffers from dementia:
- Install a door chime:
This simple device is usually magnetic and makes a sound when the door is opened. Sometimes individuals with dementia may open their doors and forget why they’ve done so. They may even leave the door open and forget about it, leading their home vulnerable to theft. The chime will remind them that the door is ajar. Some security systems will even allow you to receive a text when the door chime goes off at certain times of the night to inform you that your loved one has left the door open.
These are also helpful tools for the families of those with dementia. Hearing the door chime will notify family members that someone has opened it, giving them the opportunity to stop the person who opened it before they have the opportunity to get too far.
- Nightlights are key:
These are not to be confused with the plug-in options that brighten a child’s bedroom; these are high-tech systems that keep wanderers safe. Putting in assistive lighting or automated illumination in and around your loved one’s home is a great way to reduce risk of injury if they go wandering. Opt for motion-sensitive lighting that turns on when someone enters a room.
- Consider the locks:
This does not mean you should change the locks in your loved one’s home so that they can never leave, but instead have them moved to a higher or lower position on the door. If your loved one has to bend down or stand on their tippy-toes to reach the door lock, they will have a harder time opening doors. This small amount of extra effort gives them enough time to stop and think about why they’re trying to open the door, often giving themselves time to realize they have no reason to leave, and instead deciding to stay inside the safety of the house. Simply put, keeping locks out of eyesight leads to less chance they will wander outside of their home.
Before you install any new security systems in the home of someone with dementia, explain to them how it will help them. Your loved one will appreciate the care that goes into protecting them from injury.