How do I keep Mom from trying to leave house?

3 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mom has been trying to get out of the house on her own with more frequency - at least 3-4 times per week. (She's been successful a few times, but we are always able to catch up to her quickly). I'm guessing this is a part of the "I'm going home" syndrome - i.e. - back to where she grew up. She's figured out all the locks and levers, so I'm going to install a double keyed security lock. Anything else we can do to head off this problem?

Expert Answers

Brenda Avadian, brings knowledge, hope, and joy to family caregivers for loved ones with Alzheimer's and dementia. She cared for her father with Alzheimer's and helps families one-on-one and in groups. She is the author of eight books, including the pioneering memoir "Where's my shoes?" My Father's Walk through Alzheimer's and the Finding the JOY in Alzheimer's series. She presents vivid, compelling, and funny keynotes to both professional and family caregiving audiences.

Here are a few more tips and resources to help you keep Mom from trying to leave the house.

Schedule daily walks with her. Take turns with each of your family members so she can explore your neighborhood, ask questions, and feel safe.

Keep her involved at home. Have her help with tasks while you enjoy time together.

Talk with her. Listen to her concerns. Ask her to describe home.

Get a door alarm. When the door opens it will buzz and notify you to keep an eye out for her.

Let your neighbors know about her wandering. Give them a copy of her picture with your phone number. Ask them to call you as soon as they see her (in case she gets out and you aren't aware of it).

Store the key for the double-keyed security lock you plan to install in an easily accessible spot in case there's an emergency and your family needs to make a quick exit.

The following resources on the site will also help you.

How to Handle Someone With Alzheimer's Who Wanders Read the first page then click through to the second page for Safety precautions to protect an Alzheimer's patient who wanders.

Read the last paragraph of my answer to a fellow member who asked, What should we do about our neighbor with Alzheimer's who wanders?

If you want more information click on More articles on wandering.

Community Answers

Kss9 answered...

Try putting a "Do Not Enter" sign on doors.. A company called Artnip makes pre-printed stickers and adhesive signs that help people with moderate to severe memory loss.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Should one with Alzheimers wander, it might be a good idea to have some identification, ie. ID bracelet. My mother was a wanderer and my father had a bracelet engraved with her name, address and phone number. There are also companies such as RoadID that make bracelets for bikers. They also include allergies, etc. in their information. PS - I'm not employed by Road ID.....