An elderly family member who has been diagnosed with some type of dementia might be at an increased risk of wandering. In order to improve safety for this individual at home, some people immediately assume that changing locks and putting in keyed deadbolts around all doors is the best option. However, for some seniors, that can become another safety issue too easy to overlook.
Why keyed deadbolts can be a problem.
They can certainly keep someone with dementia from wandering, but what happens in the event of an emergency where that individual has to get out in a hurry? Will he or she be able to escape? How will they find the key? Dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s, can cause significant memory loss as it progresses.
If that senior is dealing with memory loss, they might not have a clue where the key is stored or how to even manipulate it into a lock. If there’s a fire, for example, they could be trapped and that suddenly becomes another serious safety concern.
Maybe that aging senior has somebody living with them.
It might be an adult child, spouse, or even a full-time, live-in caregiver. Wouldn’t that solve the problem, considering this individual will be there?
In reality, will he or she be with the senior every single minute of the day and night? Will they not head out to do some shopping? Might they visit with other family and friends every once in a while? What if an emergency happens when they’re not around?
Also, keep in mind that even people with the best intentions can become panicked and overwhelmed during emotionally charged emergency situations. They might suddenly forget where they put the key. Perhaps they were in a hurry when they returned from the store and tossed the car keys in the wrong place. The car keys happened to have the deadbolt keys on them as well.
One suggested alternative is to put the key to the deadbolt locks on a necklace and wear it at all times. But, again you have the problem of that caregiver possibly not being around during an emergency circumstance.
Keyed deadbolts can certainly be effective at preventing wandering, especially for those who are dealing with memory related challenges, but they can pose another safety concern for seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. Be sure to evaluate the entire situation carefully before deciding on this alternative.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care to improve senior home safety in Newport Beach, CA, please contact the caring staff at Canaan Home Care today! 1-844-CANAAN-1 (1-844-226-2261)
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