Wander, What to Do? Living with Alzheimer’s


Hello and thank you for showing your interest into todays topic regarding the concerns surrounding wandering Alzheimer’s or dementia patients and how Greene Locksmiths can help.

Hi, I’m Michael Greene owner of Greene Locksmith Inc.

Before I opened Greene locksmiths in 1988, my exposure to Alzheimer’s patients and their special care needs went back to the mid seventies when I was employed as an orderly at Maimonides Geriatric Center in Cote St Luc. While employed there, I spent numerous hours per day with elderly residents with various levels of dementia.

One thing I learned very quickly is how powerful the art of distraction was when taking care of dementia patients. When choosing the right techniques, a caregiver can often distract or confound the dementia patient into forgetting why and what he was intending to do just moments before. That type of memory deprivation is common for advanced Alzheimer patients.

These “tricks or distractions” are implemented for one reason only. To keep a potentially agitated or frightened Alzheimer’s patient calm and safe.

In this article, the goal for Greene Locksmiths is to securely contain a fidgety or wandering patient safe within their living quarters by making the exit point too complicated to unlock by themselves, but in the event of an emergency, caregivers can always get out quickly if they are alerted by a fire, smoke or any other type of sensor and alarm. Especially important in the night, the ability to control the opening of the front door will results in peace of mind for the spouse or caregiver who are trying to get their own much needed rest rather than worrying all night that the patient will leave the dwelling.

When an Alzheimer’s patient wanders or tries to “run” away, they never have a reasoned plan, they are confused and frustrated and often get into very dangerous situations. For these advanced cases, leaving the apartment without assistance from a caregiver is prohibited due to safety concerns.

For so many going through this terribly difficult and upsetting scenario, here are a few tried and tested options:

1) Door Guardian Child Safety Latch (no key needed to escape and has no visible hardware showing from the outside) Approximately $145.00 installed.

2) Door wedge alarm or sounder (makes a loud noise to alert caregivers with no visible hardware showing from the outside) Depending on the situation, this option could run from $25.00 and up.

3) Reversed pushbutton lock (not shown) offers a digital egress code with some hardware visible on the outside.

This type of lock is the costliest at approximately $340.00 installed. It is also the most secure option.

Some condominiums prohibit the addition of non-approved lock hardware to doors as to not change the common area appearance. At Greene, our skilled locksmiths make sure that the locks are installed professionally and that they respect these condominium rules.

With over the 32 years in business, we have addressed this issue so many times, we thought it would be helpful to publish this message on all social media platforms and on other relevant publications. Please look at the following clips to understand how these different Alzheimer Locks work or feel free to call Greene Locksmith at 514-484-0284.