A Comparison of Door Alarms and Wanderguard Systems: Which is Best for Senior Safety?

October 26, 2023

As our loved ones age, their safety becomes a top priority. One of the biggest concerns is the potential for wandering and getting lost, especially for seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s. According to the National Institutes of Health, “More than 60% of persons with dementia will wander.” To manage the worry of a loved one’s wandering, many families turn to door alarms and wanderguard systems. These two types of notification measures are designed to alert caregivers when an older adult leaves their home or designated area. While they have similar purposes, there are distinct differences between door alarms and wanderguards. In this blog post, we will explore these differences and help you weigh your options for   ensuring the safety and well-being of your senior loved one.

The Link between Cognitive Decline and Elderly Wandering

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As our loved ones age, it’s important to understand the changes they may experience, especially when it comes to cognitive decline. Cognitive decline refers to the gradual decrease in abilities, including memory, attention, and problem-solving. This decline can be a normal part of aging or a result of underlying health conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

It’s important to recognize that cognitive decline can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to navigate their environment and make decisions. This can often lead to wandering in the elderly, where they may become disoriented and walk away from their homes or care facilities with no particular destination in mind. It’s essential to observe and document cognitive changes, as changes can help healthcare professionals assess the severity of the decline and determine appropriate interventions.

Caregivers can mitigate the dangers of wandering by using a door alarm or wander guard system equipped with wearable devices that help monitor senior movements and alert caregivers when they wander outside a designated area. These solutions provide some limited peace of mind for caregivers who may be feeling burdened by worry for the safety and wellness of their loved one. When we understand the potential dangers of wandering, we can better plan measures to ensure the safety of our loved ones with dementia.

Understanding the Basics: What are Door Alarms and Wanderguards?

A door alarm for dementia is designed specifically for caregivers in response to the unique challenges faced by individuals with cognitive decline. These alarms are typically installed on doors or windows and use smart home sensors to detect when something is opened. Once triggered, the alarm emits a loud sound, which can cause great anxiety to an elderly person, or sends an alert to a caregiver’s smartphone or monitoring system. This immediate notification allows caregivers to quickly respond by intercepting the older adult.

Wanderguard systems offer a different approach to senior safety. These systems include wearable devices, such as bracelets or pendants, which are affixed to the seniors body. The wander guard system uses radio frequency technology to monitor the senior’s location within a designated area. If the senior goes beyond the predetermined boundary, an alarm is triggered, alerting the caregiver. Some wanderguard systems also include GPS tracking, providing real-time location information outside of the range of the home. GPS trackers that work beyond the boundary of the home require a cellular plan, much like a mobile phone.

Door alarms and wanderguard systems can be effective in very specific situations, but they have limitations. Door alarms are relatively simple to install but for a cognitive patient, are rarely an effective deterrent for wandering behavior. Wanderguard systems offer more flexibility and coverage, allowing seniors to move around more freely while still being monitored. However, they require the senior to wear a device at all times, which is generally unrealistic for an older adult with memory or cognitive challenges. Wearable devices are often forgotten, misplaced, or in the case of an older adult who doesn’t want to be tracked, purposely left behind.

A Better Way – envoyatHome’s Senior Solution to Wandering

At envoyatHome, we take a different approach to keeping your senior loved ones safe and secure – we believe that when a caregiver understands a loved one’s behavior when they’re home alone, the caregiver can work with medical professionals to address behaviors that create emergency situations like wandering.

envoyatHome doesn’t just sound an alarm after an event like a door opening, envoyatHome generates behavior data and insights to help caregivers and medical professionals understand the ever-changing cognitive behaviors and conditions that lead to episodes like wandering. envoyatHome empowers caregivers to intervene before an emergency.

What sets envoyatHome apart is our flexibility for customization to your specific care concerns and our ability to discover, recognize, and analyze behavioral patterns that are so subtle, caregivers often can’t see them until it’s too late. We understand that every senior is unique and with their capabilities constantly changing, their safety needs change over time. That’s why our senior solution can be tailored to meet the specific needs of your loved one. So much more than door open alerts or wanderguards, envoyatHome is a simple, affordable multi-problem solver that has NO wearables, NO cameras, NO listening devices, and works 24 hours a day.

You can support your loved one’s independence and quality of life as they are on a cognitive journey. Consider envoyatHome’s solution to give you the peace of mind you need with the independence your loved one deserves.

About envoyatHome

envoyatHome is committed to caregivers of older adults aging in place. Featured in Kiplinger, Fortune, National Council on Aging, and aginginplace.org, envoyatHome is a solution for caregivers that delivers full time, affordable senior care for the digital age. You can reach us at info@envoyathome.com or 856.681.0076.

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