Q: My elderly father lives with me and has moderate dementia and is prone to wandering. Sometimes he says “I just need to get home,” even when he already is at home. Other times in the morning he will get dressed and try to wander out the front door while saying he is “going to work”…He has been retired for 19 years.
My husband and I are at our wits end because we can’t really leave him alone because we don’t know if he’d try to leave the house. And I certainly don’t think it would be safe to lock him in alone. I read all about assisted living on your site and it sounds great for my father. But can assisted living communities watch over people like my dad?
Wandering is one of the most difficult behaviors family caregivers have to deal with. It’s good that you recognize that it’s not safe to leave your father alone in these circumstances.
Many assisted living communities provide secured memory care. By “secured” it is meant that residents are prevent from leaving the community. In the old days these were called “lockdown units” but locked doors are hardly necessary with today’s technologies and good staff oversight. Different memory care providers use different approaches to prevent residents from endangering themselves by wandering off. Some communities have doors with alarms on them that alert staff when a resident is trying to leave the memory care area. Other times residents are given small bracelets with radio-ID in them that alert staff when a resident has ventured to far.
So yes, he can live at assisted living as long as it is an assisted living with secured memory care available. Our Senior Living Advisors can help you identify just such communitie for your dad, and our Advisors are just a call away. Additionally, for Alzheimer’s support and information you might visit our sister website, AlzheimersNet, which was recently launched to provide support, information and resources to Alzheimer’s caregivers just like you.
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