4 Security Systems For A Safe Home For A Dementia Patient

In Canada, as many as 1 in 11 people over the age of 65 has Alzheimer's or a related dementia. One of the hardest decisions many families face is whether to take care of their loved ones at home or have them cared for in a nursing facility. Some believe it's more beneficial for the patient to be cared for around familiar surroundings in their homes. Others believe the safety and security that nursing facilities provide are more important.

If you and other family members are going back and forth trying to decide on what's best for your loved one, what if you could have the best of both options? Security systems can give your loved one safety that is equal to a nursing facility yet in the comfortable surroundings of their home. Here are 5 security systems to consider.

Pressure Sensitive Pad Under Mattress

This is a device you put underneath your loved one's mattress. It is pressure sensitive and is designed to sound an alarm when the person gets out of bed. The alarm will sound at a monitoring device that you can keep in another location in the house, such as in your bedroom. The monitor is portable and can be carried with you. It's important to make sure the alarm does not sound in your loved one's room, because the sound could startle someone with dementia and cause them to panic and flee.  

Electronic Door Alarms

Electronic alarms should be installed on all exterior and interior doors. Hire a security system installation service to install electronic alarms that can be easily programmed and reconfigured in various ways, because your needs will likely change as time goes on. That way, you can adjust the alarms to sound directly at the doors or to alert you and other family members via a smartphone app. Tell the installation service why you are installing the system so they can customize it to suit your family's needs.

Surveillance Cameras

Surveillance cameras can offer a great deal of security for you and your loved one. In advanced stages of Alzheimer's and dementia, patients tend to get a bit aggressive. Constantly hovering over them may cause them to become frustrated, and this may lead them to become confused and angry. Security cameras give you the ability to hover over them without letting them know you are watching their every move.

Motion Detector Alarms

Motion detector alarms installed around the perimeter of your home can help identify when/if your loved one has gotten past the electronic door alarms to wander off. This type of alarm should be configured to alert you via a smartphone app or a security monitoring system. Do not use motion detectors with audible alarms, because they may startle your loved one and cause them to run off.

GPS Tracking Device

Even with all of the above listed security measures in place, your loved one may still find an opportunity to wander off. Fortunately, there are GPS tracking devices that are designed specifically for Alzheimer's and dementia patients. They come in various forms, including wristbands that resemble watches and small devices that look like pagers. You can program the device to alert you when your loved one goes beyond a pre-designated area. You can track their movements and locate them to take them back home.

Sundowning is a term you may not be familiar with yet, but it's important to understand what it is so you can recognize it. It's the phenomenon that generally causes dementia patients to wander off when the sun goes down. For this reason, it's important to increase the sensitivities of your security system settings during the evenings if you recognize sundowning behaviors in your loved one.