Safety biggest issue for dementia patients

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Bay Cove Memory Care is a facility for men and women suffering from dementia. Debra Krulewicz is the Activities Director, and an expert in caring for people with the disease.

"Keeping them safe is the most difficult thing you can do for an Alzheimer's patient," said Krulewicz.

On February 23, Joseph Davis' body was found in the water near the Golden Nugget Casino after he wandered away from his hotel room. Davis was believed to be in the early stages of dementia.

"It's very common for a patient with Alzheimer's to wander. They wander and they are guaranteed to go to any door and they rattle doorknobs and they try to get out," said Krulewicz.

At Bay Cove, all of the doors stay locked and you must have a code to get in and out.

Another important part of caring for dementia patients is keeping them occupied.

"From the time that they get up from the breakfast table until the time we sit them down to eat at the dinner table, they have an opportunity to have consistent constant engagement," said Krulewicz.

Folding clothes, cleaning up and playing personal games are all ways the staff keeps the residents engaged. Krulewicz says it's actually a state of Mississippi requirement for memory care facilities, and urges those caring for their loved ones at home to make sure they are educated on this disease.

"There's a great resource with the Mississippi chapter of the Alzheimer's Association that has this booklet. If you call them, they will send it to you and its great detail on how to Alzheimer's proof your home," said Krulewicz.

For more information, training or a speaker, you can email Melora Jackson at with the Division of Alzheimer's Disease and other Dementia.

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