When an aging family member is prone to wandering, finding a way to curtail that scary behavior is essential. Try some of these ideas if your aging adult is an escape artist.
Install and Use a Keyed Deadbolt
Deadbolts that use a knob on the inside of the door are extremely easy for your aging adult to unlock on her own, which could easily lead to your senior disappearing for a bit. Replacing that type of lock with a keyed deadbolt gives you a little more security about a wandering senior when the door is locked.
Put a Chair or Other Piece of Movable Furniture in Front of the Door
Some aging family members who are prone to wandering see situations in a very specific way. So if you place something in front of the door, such as a piece of furniture or a chair, your aging adult may walk right on by rather than going out the door. If this is a door that you use often, you may find that it’s alright to use a light, easy to move piece of furniture to get the same results.
Conceal the Door Knob
Again, if you interfere slightly with the way your elderly family member perceives the situation, you can get some great results. Try concealing the door knob itself with a towel or a jacket. This can convince your senior that what she’s seeing isn’t a door knob, but simply a hook.
Place a Stop Sign on the Door
For some aging family members, simply seeing a visible indicator that they shouldn’t go somewhere can be enough. Try getting a reproduction of a stop sign or printing one out in color. Tape it to the door and see whether that helps your elderly family member understand not to use that door.
Hang a Curtain Panel Over the Door
In other cases, smaller concealment options may not work as well. You might want to try concealing the entire door, if that’s the case. An easy way to do this is to hang a curtain rod across the top of the door and secure a curtain panel to the rod. Slide the curtain across the door to hide it completely and use curtain tie backs when you need to use the door.
Having homecare providers available when you have to be elsewhere can help you to feel more confident about your elderly family member not wandering while you’re away.