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Limit Wandering With a Dementia Door Alarm

By Haleigh BehrmanMay 11, 2022
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Older adults living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia may experience feelings of confusion or disorientation that can cause them to wander away from their home or caregiver in search of something familiar. If you’re caring for a loved one with dementia who wanders, a dementia door alarm is an excellent option to keep them safe and limit wandering.

Wandering can be incredibly dangerous and put seniors with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia at a greater risk of falls, fractures, and injuries. The unpredictability and risks that accompany wandering can cause significant stress for caregivers and family members.

Read on to learn more about the security benefits of door alarms, different types of door alarms for dementia patients, and some of the top-rated dementia door alarm products available.


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Benefits of dementia door alarms

Door security for dementia patients is commonly achieved through the use of locks or alarms. While locking mechanisms can be effective means to keep a loved one from wandering outside, there’s also the concern of how someone would safely be able to get out of the house in the event of a fire or other emergency. An alarm, on the other hand, can allow a person to exit and also signal that they need assistance.

Some other benefits of door alarms for dementia patients include:

  • Maximizing safety. Once installed, the alarm will alert you when your loved one opens the door, so you know when to check on them and can better keep them from wandering outside.
  • Preserving independence. A door alarm can help your loved one maintain their sense of self sufficiency and independence by letting them live their day more freely, without constant oversight.
  • Enabling more efficient care. Alarms help ensure that you can be there when your loved one needs you instead of constantly watching over them, which gives you time to tend to other care-related tasks such as food preparation, booking appointments, and keeping up with their housekeeping and laundry needs.

Different types of door alarms for dementia patients

Among the variety of door alarms for dementia patients, different settings help you monitor your loved one’s whereabouts, alert you when they need assistance, and keep them from opening certain doors.

Here are some of the different types of door alarms:

  • Magnetic door alarms sound off when a door opens and disconnects the magnet from the sensor/switch.
  • Keypad locks require a specific code to lock and unlock a door, and some models can notify a caregiver of any door activity with beeps and LED lights.
  • Floor sensor mats have a sensor pad on the floor that triggers an alarm when someone steps on it.
  • GPS alert systems provide location tracking and send immediate alerts for wandering and unfamiliar places.
  • Remote sounding alarms sound away from the door to notify the caregiver without startling the person trying to exit.
  • String alarms activate when a door opens and detaches a magnet-positioned string from the alarm on the door frame.

Top-rated dementia door alarms

Choosing the right alarm system to provide door security for dementia patients can be overwhelming. We’ve compiled a list of some of the top-rated dementia door alarms on the market, and we’ve highlighted some of the pros and cons to help make your decision easier.

Lewis N. Clark Travel Door Alarm

The Lewis N. Clark Travel Door Alarm is a versatile and portable string alarm that can be a great option to bring along when traveling with a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. Simply set the device’s two prongs on either side of a door, and it will loudly sound off when the alarm is triggered.

Additional features include:

  • Installation-free setup
  • Fairly low price
  • Portable design

Some of the common cons reported include:

  • Low alarm strength
  • Incompatibility with certain door types

Lewis N. Clark’s Travel Door Alarm falls in the price range of $10 to $20.

GE Personal Security Window/Door Alarm

The GE Personal Security Window/Door Alarm is a magnetic door alarm that can be installed to any door and window in your home. The alarm’s 120-decibel, high-pitched alarm quickly — and loudly — alerts you if your loved one opens an armed door or window.

Additional features include:

  • Three modes: alarm, chime, and off
  • Battery operated
  • Built-in battery life checker
  • Tool-free installation

Some of the common cons reported include:

  • Immediate shut-off after door closes
  • Alarm shrillness can cause discomfort to loved ones and caregivers

The GE Personal Security Window/Door Alarm ranges in price from $12 to $29.

Fosmon WaveLink 51007HOM Wireless Door Open Chime

The Fosmon WaveLink is a complete door alarm equipped with a transmitter to detect a door opening as well as a receiver with the alarm chime and an LED indicator for people with hearing loss. The device offers a coverage area up to 400 square feet, and it has 52 tones to choose from.

Additional features include:

  • Easy installation
  • Stated lifetime guarantee
  • Volume control setting

Some of the common cons reported include:

  • Limited selection of chimes
  • Some reviews claiming that the alarm suddenly stops working

The Fosmon WaveLink usually falls within a price range of $19 to $43.

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Wsdcam Wireless Door Alarm with Remote

The Wsdcam’s Wireless Door Alarm is a multipurpose device with a remote controller that can connect to multiple alarms in the home. The 105-decibel alarm is loud enough to get your attention if your loved one sets it off.

Additional features include:

  • Battery operated
  • Four modes: arm, disarm, panic, and doorbell mode
  • Easy installation

Some of the common cons reported include:

  • Higher cost compared to other alarms on this list
  • Intense volume level, even in doorbell mode

The cost of Wsdcam’s Wireless Door Alarm ranges from $11 to $36.

SECRUI M508+D7 Door Chime

The SECRUI Door Chime has ample coverage with a 500-foot operating range. The device’s volume can be set up to 100 decibels, and its compact size makes it easy to install on any door or window.

Additional features include:

  • 52 chime options
  • Volume control
  • Easy installation
  • Multicolored alarms for those with hearing impairments

Some of the common cons reported include:

  • Electric outlet connection required
  • Incompatibility with some older door frames
  • Higher cost compared to other options listed above

SECRUI’s Door Chime has a price range of $25 to $50.

Keeping your loved ones safe and protected

Everyone living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia is at risk for wandering, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Although completely preventing wandering can be challenging, having a safety plan in mind and using home products like door alarms for dementia patients can help you reduce this risk and provide peace of mind.

Memory care is another option to help with wandering. Memory care units are equipped to provide 24-hour supervised care, and facility layouts are designed to minimize the chances of wandering. Our local Senior Living Advisors can help connect you with memory care communities in your area and answer any questions you may have, if you decide to explore this option.

Sources

Alzheimer’s Association. Wandering.

Lai, C. Arthur, D. (2003, October 02). Wandering behavior in people with dementiaJournal of Advanced Nursing.

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical, legal or financial advice or create a professional relationship between A Place for Mom and the reader. The recommendations contained herein are based on the opinions of the author. Always seek the advice of your health care provider, attorney or financial advisor with respect to any particular matter, and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything you have read on this site. Links to third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader; A Place for Mom does not endorse the contents of the third-party sites.

Author
Haleigh Behrman

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