As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, caregivers will need to provide increased supervision and assistance, and implement extra safety precautions. It is important to understand how dementia impacts safety at home, on the road and during daily activities.

People with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia may not see, smell, touch, hear and/or taste things as they used to. For example, the ability to recognize something as being hot and unsafe to touch is often impaired.

Just because something has not yet occurred does not mean it should not be something to prepare for. Check the safety of your home, whether it is safe to leave the person alone as well as the ability of the person to continue driving safely. Being aware can go a long way to preventing injury.

Understand Wandering

Six out of 10 people with dementia will wander. It’s a matter of when – not if.

Changes in the brain can cause a person with dementia to become confused and disoriented, even when in a familiar place. Understand what causes this common behavior, how to prevent it and what to do in the event wandering occurs. You can help reduce the risk of wandering by removing items near the door that suggest leaving, such as shoes, keys, coats and purses or wallets.

Gun Lock Program

Dementia is a progressive brain disease that can cause changes in a person’s ability to safely handle a firearm, including:

  • Poor judgment leading to bad decisions
  • Memory loss and confusion
  • Difficulty understanding situations & surroundings
  • Mood and personality changes
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Trouble recognizing familiar people

Through a generous donation from Poway Weapons & Gear, Alzheimer’s San Diego is now providing free gun locks to families impacted by dementia that have a firearm in the home. These locks can secure firearms and help prevent an accident or injury. If you’d like to receive a free gun lock, call us at 858.492.4400.

Download our Gun Safety Checklist

Adapt the Environment

Changing the environment will be more effective and easier than changing behaviors. You can make changes in an environment to decrease hazards, prevent wandering and increase safety. For example, check rooms for adequate lighting and trip hazards, install grab bars in the bathroom, put away dangerous liquids and cleaners. A safe environment can be less restrictive, allowing the person with Alzheimer’s to have greater security while also giving them more freedom to move around independently and safely.

MedicAlert® San Diego

Alzheimer’s San Diego has teamed up with the MedicAlert Foundation to create a local program to improve the overall safety of those living with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia here in San Diego.

Operating as a live 24-hour emergency response service; any person with Alzheimer’s who experience a medical emergency or who may wander and become lost, will receive exceptional treatment and care while first responders work with a MedicAlert Response Specialist to safely reunite patients with their loved ones.

If an emergency does arise, Alzheimer’s San Diego will work closely with MedicAlert and will provide the family with follow-up support and resources in hopes of lowering the risk of a future emergency or wandering incident.

To enroll in MedicAlert:

  • Download the application: MedicAlert Brochure
  • Complete and submit to Alzheimer’s San Diego

For questions or assistance, please contact Alzheimer’s San Diego at 858.492.4400.

Take Me Home

A program of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, Take Me Home is a photo-based information system accessible by all law enforcement in San Diego. It is designed to assist law enforcement during contacts with members of the community who have Autism, Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Down Syndrome, Deafness, Developmental Disabilities or any other special need.

If law enforcement were to find someone who is unable to communicate who they are or where they live, the deputy/officer can search the Take Me Home database and return the person to their home and family. The system also works in reverse; if someone with a special need were to go missing or wander away, their photo and description is immediately available to law enforcement to assist with the search.

Enrollment is free and easy via the San Diego Sheriff’s Department website. For more information, contact Alzheimer’s San Diego or a Crime Prevention Specialist, located at any Sheriff station.

San Diego Sheriff’s Department