Protecting your loved one is one of your most important duties as a caregiver. This is especially important when weather conditions are dangerous, as is so common this time of year.
The best protection is to keep your loved one safe inside. If he or she has a tendency to wander, here are some precautions you can take to keep them from getting out:
- Have a lock on all your exterior doors—out of sight and out of reach of your loved one.
- Use a lock that requires a key to unlock and hide the key where your loved one can’t find it.
- Put childproof knob covers on the doorknobs to keep the person from being able to open the door.
- Put black floor covering or a black rug in front of little-used exterior doors or doors that lead to rooms with exterior doors. Individuals with Alzheimer’s mistake a large black area for a hole and will avoid stepping into it. Don’t try this on the door that you want your loved one to use when going in or out with you.
Be prepared in case your best efforts fail and your loved one does get out of the house:
- Make sure he has identification with the correct address and phone number. This can be in a wallet or sewn intohis clothes.
- Include information that states the patient has Alzheimer’s or simply say she gets confused so that if someone finds her, they will recognize that she needs help.
- Take a photo every six months so you have a current picture to show authorities and searchers if the person does get lost.
- Inform the neighbors of your loved one’s condition so they will know to contact you if they see him wandering.
If your loved one does get out without your knowing it:
- Look in places that are familiar to her.
- Take the latest photo of your loved one and show neighbors and nearby businesses to see if anyone has seen him.
- Notify authorities if you don’t find your loved one quickly, and be sure to let them know her condition.
- Be sure that a family member or friend stays at your home to be there in case someone calls with information or brings your loved one home.