(WJBK) - The biting cold has proven extremely dangerous over the past few days. At least four people in metro Detroit have been found dead outside in the freezing temperatures.
Two of the deaths were older adults who had wandered outside the home in the middle of the night. Brianna Lopiccolo from the Alzheimer's Association joined us to tell us how we can prevent that from happening.
Wandering is a behavior of dementia and is a symptom of the disease. Brianna explains these individuals think they're going to work, or finding a family member, and exit the home and then cannot find their way back.
Brianna says these individuals aren't able to problem solve how to get back home, are often times inappropriately dressed for the weather conditions and may even experience the weather differently.
One of the biggest ways to prevent this from happening is to put an extra lock above the handle of the door, or putting a cloth over the door handle to camouflage the door handle.
Another tip is to leave lights on in the hallways to the bathroom so it's very clear how to get to the bathroom if needed in the middle of the night.
Also, be aware of habits and patterns if your loved one has a history of wandering.
If your loved one does exit the home, you can call 911. You can also take preventative measures and outfit your loved one with medical identification bracelet. You can get more information on these bracelets online HERE: https://www.alz.org/care/dementia-medic-alert-safe-return.asp