Tips to boost safety and security for someone with dementia

Safety is probably one of your biggest concerns if you're caring for someone with Alzheimer's or dementia, particularly as the illness progresses. Find out the main challenges and how to cope with them

Three signs the person with dementia is safe and secure

1. They feel confident when they go out.
2. They are clear about who they should or shouldn’t be answering the door or phone to.
3. They can get around their home safely.

Dementia can affect safety and security in many ways, and so thinking about the steps you can take to improve it is extremely important. Ultimately, someone who feels safe and secure is also going to feel happy, comfortable and willing to carry on with life as best they can.

Beating obstacles to safety and security

There are very specific challenges that can affect someone’s safety and security when they have dementia. These include…

Wandering
Falls
The home

Luckily, being ready and prepared for these challenges will help you to tackle them and increase feelings of safety and security.

Tips to boost safety and security

GPS tracking devices
If the person you’re caring for is prone to wandering, you may want to look into what tracking devices there are available. These work by using global positioning system (GPS) technology to locate where someone is. They would wear a special wrist band or necklace that lets you see where they are if they wander off.

Pendant alarms
These are useful if you’re worried about them having a fall, (which can be a particular worry for people with dementia). Your loved one simply wears a pendant on their wrist or as a necklace which has a large red button they can push if they fall and can’t get up.

Home security
If you have dementia even people you know can sometimes seem like a stranger, so its no wonder your loved one might become increasingly fearful of anyone they don't recognise at their front door. If they become unwilling to let people in (even carers and realatives) a key safe – a secure box to hold door keys that can only be accessed with the correct code – could be very useful. A video intercom system could also be useful if the person with dementia wants to see your face before letting you in.

On the flip side, dementia can also make people less judgemental and more prone to making poor decisions including signing up for fraudulent deals. This is particularly a problem over the phone. However, it is possible to set up a phone system that screens calls and only allows ones from known callers to come through, removing this risk.

Wheelchairs and walkers
Dementia can affect your walking ability, particularly in the later stages, so it can help boost mobility and safety by providing a walker or a wheelchair for them to get around. If you do this, ensure the home is modified with ramps so they can get around easily.

Home modifications
Ideally, someone with dementia will stay in their own home, or one of someone they know, for as long as they can. But you may find you need to make some adjustments to the home in order to keep them safe and secure. It could be grab rails around the house, stair lifts to get upstairs and lifts and hoists for the bed or bathroom.