My father was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia at the age of 53. He was physically quite fit, although his mind was slipping away.
It started becoming routine that Dad would start walking away, in the store, from the house, just about anywhere. I can recall trying to convince my dad to return to the house while he was walking out of the neighborhood towards a very busy high speed roadway with little to no pedestrian area. At one point he told me that if I didn’t leave him alone he would call the police (he didn’t know who I was at that time) I remember responding to please call the police (I knew they would help me get him home). In the end he returned home without police intervention and no major problems but I was shaking and terrified. I know that my siblings and mom also have similar memories.
Dad’s wandering was hardest on Mom, she had to be worried about him getting up in the middle of the night, wandering off and getting lost. She did some research to see if there was anything out there that would help and she found Project Lifesaver that was being operated through our local sheriff’s office.
This isn’t a GPS device or really any super fancy tech. It’s remarkable in its’ simplicity. A watch-like device is fastened to the wrist of the dementia patient much like a hospital ID wristband is attached. In the “watch” part is a simple radio transmitter on a unique frequency and a battery all in a waterproof case.
The idea is if the dementia patient wanders and is missing the sheriff’s department can send out cars to the last known location with devices to listen for the unique frequency and signal and triangulate the current location of the dementia patient.
A deputy sheriff would come out once a month to replace the device to ensure the battery was always working at 100%.
Take a look into their services here: Project Lifesaver You can check to see if they are working with the police or sheriff’s department in your area. If they aren’t encourage your local department to become involved.
Wandering is such a worry for those of us who care for a loved one with dementia. It seems that I cannot go a single day without hearing of someone wandering from their home or care facility. We had such worries with my dad and found Project Life Saver through our local sheriff’s office. A simple device attached to his wrist like a watch gave us peace of mind, knowing that if he did slip out of our notice we would be able to find him.
Go to their website to see if Project Life Saver is in your area or learn how to get them in your area. Project Life Saver
One of the biggest complaints a lot of people have regarding large care facilities is how cold and sterile they often feel.
Often in memory care units I see residents wandering from door to door wondering which room is theirs. The doors are all the same and none feel (or look) like home. I’ve found out about a product that helps with that problem.
Imagine being able to put a sticker on the door that makes an institutional door look just like the front door from your loved one’s home? There’s a care facility in The Netherlands that’s doing just that for their residents and it’s receiving rave reviews from the residents.
Check out the article and videos:
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Just saw that my home state has decided to have Silver Alerts on highway D.O.T. electronic signs – this will be to alert motorists of missing, endangered dementia patients much like Amber Alerts do now.
I’m glad to see my home state taking this step to use existing resources to help dementia patients.
Here’s the news article regarding my home state implementing the Silver Alert program. Click here.
Here’s a list of other states offering a similar program. Click here.
This list is a quick reference on how to communicate with someone with dementia.
Dementia will cause your loved one to act in strange ways. There are several specific behaviors that seem to be common regardless of the type of dementia. Two of them are delusions and wandering.
This is an instructional video from a great company discussing techniques to manage these behaviors while keeping your loved one safe and calm.