According to the Alzheimer’s Association brochure titled, “Campaign for Quality Residential Care’s 'Dementia Care Practice,'” people living with Alzheimer’s in care facilities often exhibit a behavior described as “exit seeking” — the strong desire to leave the building and wander. Since wandering poses a serious health risk, making exits less obvious reduces visual cues for exiting.
The Alzheimer's Association brochure describes exit-seeking as normal and quite understandable:
“It can result from the resident’s desire to return to a secure, familiar home or former workplace. The resident may be trying to reconnect with family members or may be following old habits, such as leaving for work in the afternoon. The resident may be drawn outside by a sunny day or have a desire for fresh air or a daily walk."
In addition to many other strategies to prevent residents from wandering (and with the OK from the fire marshall), the Alzheimer's Association encourages care centers to disguise exits in ways that also bring beauty to a clinical setting.
An added bonus? The murals and exit doors often beautify an otherwise sterile institutional space and bring a sense of peace to the residents.
South Mountain Memory Care will be adding murals over the next few weeks. Please stop in for a visit and check out the art work.