If your loved one has started to wander, and you’re concerned about potentially dangerous or embarrassing situations, I have a possible solution. I must also caution you in advance: I have absolutely no scientific proof that this stops wandering. But, I’ve read several anecdotal reports that make sense.
Put a black mat in front of any door that you don’t want someone with Alzheimer’s to go through. This applies to doors leading outside, doors which in going through would interrupt someone else’s privacy (a bedroom, for example). Make sure that the mat is at least equal to the width of the door and 15 to 18 inches deep.
According to the anecdotes, this works because the person with Alzheimer’s doesn’t recognize the mat for what it is. Instead, they think it’s a hole in the ground — a barrier — that they’re afraid to cross, even if they see someone else step on it. When you want to allow your loved one to cross through the “prohibited” doorway, roll up the mat and set it aside. When you once again want to use the mat as a barrier, simply unroll it in front of the door. Anecdotally, they don’t remember that it isn’t a hole, but simply a mat.
A word of caution: Make sure that the black mat lies flat. We don’t want to cause someone to trip and fall.
Mats like this are available from Amazon.com for a reasonable price. Generally, that’s around $15 for a 30×18 inch mat, plus shipping and sales tax.
If you decide to try it, let us know in the comments below how it works for you.