Wander solutions run the gamut from simple signage to high technology

Several weeks ago I published an article based on an interview with Troy Griffiths, the CEO of Vigil Health Solutions, on wander management. This article was written by Bruce Barnet, the founder of the Alzheimer’s Store.

Practical Solutions

Solutions run the gamut from simple signage to high technology, science-based methods. Each of these solutions are geared toward preventing residents with dementia from putting themselves in harm’s way.

As a person starts to lose their cognitive ability, they can still access memories from earlier years. It sounds crazy but one of the most simple, elegant wander solutions is to install STOP SIGNS. This can be as simple as a decal or a banner placed on or near doors or areas that should not be entered.

Hidden Doors

There are commercial fire-rated door murals that can disguise a door to the point that it simply disappears. Before installing these, you should check with your local regulatory folks for approval. Even if not allowed for exit doors, it could be a useful tool for interior doors that are used frequently.

GPS Shoes

GPS shoes have been around for a few years and they are getting better. The newest generation are shoe pads that can slip into any shoe. The pad has a GPS in the center and can be trimmed to most shoe sizes.

They remove the stigma of a large bracelet-style device, they also largely eliminate the risk of a resident removing wrist or ankle devices. If a resident does elope, the device is trackable over the internet. While still problematic, battery lives are getting better. The shoe pads currently have a 30-hour battery life.

ID Bracelets

Not technically a wander prevention device, but there is a new generation of ID bracelets that are replacing the old medic alert bracelets. They can be embedded with a large amount of data specific to the individual wearing the bracelet including the location of their senior living community . . . just in case they manage to escape.    

First responders are now carrying a device that can quickly retrieve all of the important data they might need to best care for that individual.

Both high and low technology solutions continue to evolve and emerge. If you know of others, we would love to hear about them.