25 Alzheimer's patients call the Biloxi Community Living Center home. The administrator admits caring for people with Alzheimer's or Dementia is a tough job.
Billy Daves said "Anything can happen. You never know what decision they'll make next, because they are confused".
The nursing home takes precautions to make sure residents don't wander off. The facility has its own Alzheimer's unit. The nurses, staff and visitors can access the front door by using a keypad. Another safety feature is a bracelet they wear on their ankles. Patients who get within 10-to-15 feet of the door will trigger an alarm.
Daves said "It's something that's going to let us know that somebody's out and alert us to either we need to evaluate the situation to be sure they're supervised or we need to take measures to get them back inside the facility".
Windows in each room only open 4 to 5 inches wide. If Alzheimer's patients head out to the courtyard, they also get constant supervision.
Daves said "We have a lattice fenced-in area that is secured, and that's as far as they're going to go. We try to keep our fences at least eight foot high. We try to keep our fences high enough where it's not a temptation to say o.k., I might get over that".
Daves says despite these safety measures, there's always a risk that someone will try to leave the grounds. He said "Dealing with Dementia and Alzheimer's is very similar with dealing with children, because you never know what's going to happen next. You have to take every precaution when you're responsible for their care".
If you're taking care of an Alzheimer's patient, you may want to attend a seminar hosted by the Biloxi Community Living Center. The seminar focuses on ways to make your home more comfortable and safer for Alzheimer's patients. It's scheduled for Tuesday, October 21, from 5:30-7:00 p.m.