Wandering is an activity that is often done by many people with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or special needs, and this activity involves people that are wandering around inside the house or outdoors. There are numerous theories as to why people with dementia and Alzheimer’s wander, but one of the common reasons is that they would often feel confused as to where they are, even if the place or the area that they are currently in was once very familiar or memorable to them. 
So, in order for them to be safer and more comfortable, they would start to wander in different places until they feel safe and secure. Unfortunately, the feeling of safety wouldn’t really be felt by seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia, so they will wander aimlessly for hours, with some being found by their loved ones while others will just continue to get lost.
Fortunately, there are now products and devices available that can help caregivers and loved ones track elderly people whenever they start wandering, and these items are called wandering solutions. To know more, here is a guide to selecting wandering solutions for people with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or special needs.
What are Wandering Solutions?
Wandering solutions are devices, products, and items that are designed to track, prevent, and slow down the wandering of people with special needs or diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Seniors and people with special needs that are wandering most of the time can be quite difficult to monitor, especially for caregivers and loved ones that do other chores and tasks at home or in the nursing facility.
The devices used for wandering solutions are usually trackers that can help caregivers locate where the senior or patient is in case he or she is able to go outside the house. However, wandering solutions can also come in the form of alarm systems that will notify you if ever the patient has got out of bed, opened the door in a specific room, or has gone out of the front yard. There are also wandering solutions that have security cameras so that you can monitor if there are unusual movements in the patient’s room or in other parts of the house or facility.
What are the Different Types of Wandering Solutions?
Wandering solutions, as we have discussed previously, can come in a variety of forms, like trackers, cameras, and alarm systems. In this section of the guide, we will talk about those types of wandering solutions and find out their uses and their benefits for caregivers and loved ones that are taking care of a patient with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or special needs. Here are details about the different types of wandering solutions.
Wandering Location Tracker
The wandering location tracker is an accessory that is worn by the patient or senior that you want to track or monitor. The tracker is usually a watch or a bracelet, but it can also be a necklace or any type of accessory that can be worn on specific parts of the body. The wandering location tracker can be connected to a smartphone or computer via an app, and this app would then tell you the exact location of the wearer.
What’s great about some wandering location trackers is that they can also serve as smart watches for the wearer. So, when the tracker is a smart watch, it will be able to tell the time and date of the day, and it may also be able to monitor the temperature or weather in the area. Because of the smart watch features of the tracker, patients or seniors will also benefit from it.
Here are three wandering location trackers that you should check out:
- Osmile ED1000 GPS Anti-Lost Tracker – one of the simplest trackers available today that features not only precise GPS positioning but also the ability to make and answer 4G phone calls and video calls. There is also an electronic fence on the tracker that will alert the caregiver if the wearer is out of the set distance, which could be the perimeters of the house or the yard.
- Tracki GPS Tracker – another great tracker is this one made by Tracki. This GPS tracker is so small that it can be hidden in the pockets of pants, shirts, and other pieces of clothing that has a storage compartment. The tracker can be connected to the Tracki app, which will enable you to pinpoint the location of the tracker’s wearer.
- LandAirSea 54 GPS Tracker – another small GPS tracker that can be connected to an app to let you know the exact location of the tracker’s wearer. What’s great about this tracker is that it is waterproof, so it will still work even if it is raining or if the wearer is submerged in shallow water.
Door Alarm System
The door alarm system is a simple wandering solution that enables you to monitor if there is anyone that opened the door in the patient’s room or any other room in the house. The system has several sensors that will detect if the door is moving, and when they do detect movement, they will then send signals to the main console, and the console will provide the alarm that will wake you up to check on the patient.
This system is fairly straightforward, and it has sensors that are pretty easy to install on the door. There are sensors that can be screwed on the door frame, while there are also sensors that have double-sided tape on the back so that you can just simply stick the sensors on the door frame without leaving any screw holes.
Take a look at these three door alarm systems that you can install in your home or nursing center:
- Bistee Wireless Door Alarm – this door alarm system features three contact sensors and two alarms. The three contact sensors can be used for three doors, while the two alarms can be installed in the caregiver’s room or in an area where the caregiver will be able to hear the alarm with ease.
- YisTech Door Alarm – this alarm system works similarly to the Bistee door alarm, as it has both a sensor and an alarm that can be installed separately. However, the YisTech Door Alarm only comes with two sensors and one alarm.
- SANJIE Wireless Door Alarm – this door alarm is different from the two previous products, as this already combines the sensor and the alarm in one device. However, keep in mind that SANJIE sells this door alarm in a pack of 10, so the number of sensors you get from this system is bigger compared to the first two alarms.
Floor Mat Alarm System
The floor mat alarm system is similar to the door alarm system, as it also has sensors that can detect movement. However, the sensors of this system are found on a floor mat instead of on the door or the door frame. So, the sensors will send a signal on the main console once someone steps on the floor mat instead of opening a door. The floor mat is usually placed on the side of the bed so that when the patient or senior wakes up and jumps out of bed, he or she will most likely step on the floor mat.
When the alarm activates, you will be able to immediately check on the patient or senior and assist them in what they want to do, which includes using the bathroom, eating a snack, or simply sitting on a sofa. In addition, you will also prevent the senior or patient from wandering inside the house or outdoors, as you will already know that they will start walking once they get out of bed.
Here are two great floor mat alarms that you can buy online:
- Smart Caregiver Cordless Floor Mat Pressure Pad – this is a cordless floor alarm that is 24 inches in length and 48 inches in width. The alarm that comes with the floor mat can receive signals wirelessly, so you don’t have to install cables in the patient’s room and the caregiver’s room just to make the floor mat alarm work.
- Ideal Security Floor Mat Alarm System – this is a floor mat alarm that can be placed not only on the side of the patient’s bed but also on the front door of the house and at the entrance to the patient’s room. The downside to this alarm is that it isn’t cordless, so you may need to drill holes in walls or ceilings to place the alarm in another location or far away from the floor mat.
The security monitor is a camera that acts as an eye for the caregiver inside the room of the patient or senior. The security camera monitors the movement of the patient, and when there are irregularities when it comes to the happenings in the room, the camera may be able to send signals to the main console to alert you.
However, there are also security monitors that don’t have a main console. Instead, they send data and signals through your smartphone via an app, which you can download and open to reveal the camera feed, as well as footage from the past days or weeks inside the patient’s room.
Here are two security monitor systems that you can check out online:
- Panasonic HomeHawk FLOOR – this is a home monitoring system that features an HD camera that will allow you to view high-quality camera footage from the living room or the patient’s bedroom. The camera comes with a floor stand so that you don’t have to screw the camera into a wall anymore.
- VTech VM350-2 Video Monitor – although this video monitor is primarily designed for babies, it can also be used for the elderly because of their night vision capabilities. This system has two wireless cameras, so you can place one inside the patient’s room while the other can be placed in the hallway or living room.
The bed alarm is very similar to the door alarm and the floor mat alarm, but this type of alarm is usually placed underneath the mattress or under the bed sheet. So, the bed alarm is activated whenever the patient or senior sleeping on top of the alarm suddenly gets up.
What’s neat about bed alarms is that there is little to no chance that they will miss alarming you, unlike floor mat alarms that can easily be avoided and door alarms that can also be avoided if the patient or senior goes out through the window. Bed alarms are more effective in alarming the caregiver, especially when the caregiver is the one that helped the patient lie down in bed, so he or she will know for sure that the bed alarm will activate correctly once the patient gets up.
Check out these two bed alarm systems that you can install on the bed of the patient or the elderly:
- Lunderg Early Alert Bed Alarm System – with this bed alarm system, you will be able to detect if the patient is in the process of standing up thanks to the pre-alert smart technology. In addition, this system is also fairly comfortable, so the patient won’t be irritated from lying on this bed alarm under the bed sheet.
- Secure Safety Solutions 14BSET-1Y Bed Alarm – this alarm system produces 80 dB of alarm sound, which is loud enough to wake you or the caregiver at home. In addition to the bed alarm and alert monitor, this system also comes with a soft holder so that you can just place the alert monitor on it instead of screwing the monitor directly into a wall.
And those are everything you need to know about wandering solutions and the different types that you can buy today. Pick the type of wandering solution that would work best in your home and for the patient, although we recommend that you use more than one type of device for optimal safety or security.
 Samuels, C. (2021, January 21). Dementia and Wandering: Causes, Prevention, and Tips You Should Know. A Place for Mom. Retrieved December 28, 2022, from https://www.aplaceformom.com/caregiver-resources/articles/dementia-wandering-causes-prevention