Caring for a loved one in the beginning stages of dementia can be difficult. You want to allow them as much independence as possible for as long as you can, but you also want them to be safe.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can protect your loved one without taking away all of their freedom.
1. Monitoring Devices
There are numerous devices and systems on the market today that keep tabs on your loved one. Medical alert devices can detect if the person falls or leaves the house and sends an alert to the on-call person or family member. Some of them use apps on a cell phone while others are stand-alone systems.
GPS devices make it easier to track someone who has wandered away from home. They are located by the tracking device that is connected to a service that contacts the caregiver. Some call the local police department while others are linked to the service company who contacts the caregiver and provides them with the location.
2. Spy Cams
Thought of as primarily for families with young children, these little cameras monitor movement and transmit the image to a television or even over the internet. Families can see what their loved one is doing even if they are away from home. While it won’t tell you where the person has gone, it will alert you to their absence quickly so you can find them before they wander too far.
Some critics claim these devices are intrusive and take away the freedom and privacy of the loved one. Ideally, family caregivers will talk with their loved one ahead of time about using these devices to obtain their consent and create a plan for safety before it’s needed.
3. Modifying the Home
New devices have created Smart Homes, homes that are connected to the internet so that you are in control even when you’re away. For instance, you may be able to shut off an oven that was accidentally left on and prevent a fire just by using your smartphone.
There are other devices such as electronic mats that chime when someone steps on them. These chimes can remind seniors not to go in that direction. Signs that say “Do not enter” may also deter people from going out the door and getting lost.
When choosing which devices to use, it’s important to consider your needs. A device for use in the home is going to be different than one necessary for outdoors. You’ll also want to think about how to keep it with your loved one. A device they wear around their wrist or neck will go with them whereas an application on the phone only works if they remember to take it with them.
When the time comes that your loved one cannot safely remain at home, you can feel confident that they are well-cared for and secure in Daystar, an assisted living community that cares about its residents. Our staff is trained to work with residents who have dementia to help keep them safe and happy, as well as independent as much as possible.