Safety is important for everyone, but the need for a comprehensive safety plan is particularly important for a person living with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia as the disease progresses. Alzheimer's causes a number of changes in the brain and body that may affect safety. Taking measures to improve safety can prevent injuries, and help a person with dementia feel at ease and maintain his or her independence longer. The Alzheimer's Association Western New York Chapter can help you create a plan, and connect with resources to help keep those with dementia safe. Below are free resources you can access by calling 716.626.0600.
Medic Alert + Safe Return
Did you know 6 out of 10 people diagnosed with dementia will wander at some point in the disease?
When a person with dementia has wandered it is considered an emergency. The Alzheimer's Association WNY Chapter can discuss tips to reduce the likelihood of wandering, and provide free enrollment in the MedicAlert + Safe Return program. This program provides a bracelet or necklace that includes information such as, the person's name, dementia diagnosis, and allergies, as well as, 24- hour emergency response line that alerts first responders, and provides critical information about the person with dementia.
Partnership with the ECMC Driver Evaluation Program
At the earliest stages, a person with Alzheimer's disease may begin to have difficulty with complex tasks such as driving. Although family and caregivers can watch for signs of unsafe driving, a proactive strategy would be to get a comprehensive driving evaluation by an occupational therapy driving rehabilitation specialist. The evaluation provides a more objective understanding of the current impact of the disease on driving capacity and results in a plan of options. The goal is always to retain the highest level of independence and mobility in the community. The Alzheimer's Association WNY chapter has partnered with the ECMC Driver evaluation to provide this program at no cost! This evaluation allows a licensed occupational therapist to conduct an in-clinic, and behind the wheel assessment to evaluate reaction time, coordination, and cognitive and visual perception driving performance. This program also includes consultations to discuss tips regarding driver safety, as well as, tips and resources to reduce the need to drive. You can also find information about starting the conversation about driving at https://alz.org/help-support/caregiving/safety/dementia-driving .