If you are living with dementia, or are caring for a person living with dementia, Finding Your Way is here to help. On this page, you will find valuable resources and information to help you or the person you are caring for to live safely in the community. In the sections below, we will talk about knowing the risks associated with dementia, reducing those risks, and having a plan in case there is an incident. Our new Living Safely with Dementia Resource Guide is a great place to get started.

Explore the Resource Guide!

While living with dementia can pose a variety of challenges, there are many tips and strategies that can be used to ensure that people living with dementia can live safely in their day-to-day lives.

Try the interactive “Living Safely with Dementia Resource Guide” to explore safety tips for those living with dementia from nine different topics. Alternatively, you can access the same content by downloading the Living Safely with Dementia Resource Guide PDF!

Try the interactive Resource Guide

Know the risks

Anyone who has dementia is at risk of going missing, even in the early stages of the disease. Understanding dementia and its associated risks can help everyone live safely in the community.

Reduce the risks

Living Safely with dementia doesn't mean keeping people from being active. Learn more about how to balance the risks of living with dementia and enjoying a healthy and safe lifestyle.

Have a plan

The person with dementia you're supporting can become lost no matter how careful you are, and it's not always possible to predict when it might happen. There are ways to lower the chances, like planning ahead. Learn more about being prepared.

Know the risks

60 percent of people living with dementia-related memory problems will become lost at some point.

For many people, getting lost happens without warning. Familiar surroundings may suddenly become strange to them. They get disoriented and are unable to find their way home.

Becoming lost isn’t just distressing; it can be dangerous. Half the people with dementia who go missing for 24 hours end up seriously injured or dead.

WATCH THE VIDEO “Living Safely in the Community”

Reduce the risks

New! Dementia guidelines that offer strategies to reduce the risk of getting lost

As part of her doctoral thesis while attending the University of Alberta, Dr. Noelannah Neubauer has developed comprehensive, easy-to-use guidelines that offer proactive strategies to reduce the risk that someone with dementia will get lost. The guidelines were developed in collaboration with persons living with dementia, care partners, health-care professionals, social workers, first responders, community organizations, and Alzheimer Societies. There are three different versions: one for persons living with dementia at home, one for care partners that provide care in the community setting, and one specifically for care homes.

Having dementia presents challenges, but there are things you can do to manage the risks. Below we will talk about a few things you can do to stay safe at home and in the community.

1. Staying safe at home

Consider living arrangements – is the person living on their own, with family or with a partner?

Consider the physical space:

  • Remove loose rugs
  • Provide adequate lighting
  • Use grab bars in the shower, tub, toilet
  • Use the handrails on stairs

Consider physical health:

  • Attend regular appointments with the physician
  • Take medications as prescribed
  • Get physical exercise everyday
  • Check glasses, hearing aids to ensure good operation
  • Maintain a healthy diet (i.e. Mediterranean)
2. Getting around in the community

Reduce the risk of becoming lost:

  • Consider locating technology (i.e. cell phone, GPS tracking)
  • Carry identification at all times
  • Complete the Finding Your Way® Identification Kit and keep in a central location (for example, a hall table, refrigerator door)
  • Tell someone where you are going
  • Know your surroundings

Reduce the risk of becoming injured:

  • Consider the weather and dress appropriately (i.e. snow, ice, wind, rain, heat)
  • Be aware of sidewalks and pathways (watch for uneven, rough areas or obstructions)

Investigate transportation options:

  • Public transportation (i.e. bus)
  • Community transportation (i.e. volunteer drivers)
  • Taxis
3. Being part of the community

Stay active socially:

  • Get to know your neighbours
  • Meet friends for coffee
  • Dine with friends and family
  • Join a hobby group

Enjoy everyday activities:

  • Do what you enjoy (i.e. walking, playing sports, attending a place of worship, maintaining a hobby)
  • Maintain your routine

Be open to receiving support:

  • Ask for help from friends, family, members of the community
  • Get to know the professionals you visit (e.g. pharmacist, banker, grocer, restaurant owner)
  • Connect with your local Alzheimer Society

Have a plan

Finding Your Way offers a number of resources to help caregivers and people living with dementia to have a plan in case of a missing person incident. If a person becomes lost or goes missing, the Identification Kit ensures that you have important information on hand for police or first responders. Finding Your Way also has checklists that outline the steps you should follow if someone you know living with dementia does go missing.

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