Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia among older people. Due to Alzheimer’s, people lose their cognitive abilities such as thinking, reasoning and memory. Alzheimer’s patients who live/stay in the care centers are often reported to wander off from the care centers to go home. To handle these situations, a German nursing home made a fake bus stop for Alzheimer’s patients. Now, the method is applied throughout Germany, as well as in other countries of Europe.
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills of people. The disease can also kill the ability of doing simple tasks. It has been found that Alzheimer’s patients often want to go to their fictitious homes and families. And for this, the Alzheimer’s patients often escape the care centers and usually head to the nearest public transportation hub, their only way to escape.
Observing the Alzheimer’s patients and understanding the trend, the Benrath Senior Center in Dusseldorf, Germany, devised an alternative solution. The center created a fake/false bus stop. So, when an Alzheimer’s patient wants to go home, the attendant doesn’t stop him/her from going; rather the attendant shows him/her the exit of the care center and the way to the bus stop. The patient goes to the bus stop, sits on the bench and waits for the bus. He/she doesn’t know that this is a fake\false bus stop and there would be no bus coming to that stoppage that will take him/her to his/her home. Few minutes later, care center staff reaches there and informs him/her that the bus will be delayed and until the bus comes he/she (the patient) can have some refreshments inside the care center. In five minutes, the patient completely forgets that he/she wanted to leave, due to their short memory.
The question raises, due to Alzheimer’s or Dementia, if a patient forgets almost every thing, then how can they recognize a bus stop and keep remember for what purpose they will go there? Well, it’s very interesting. It has been found that Alzheimer’s patients’ short-term memory hardly works, but the long-term memory remains active. That’s why, Alzheimer’s patients recognize bus stops, know the green and yellow bus sign etc. They believe that a bus will come, they will board on it and will go for their home.
The idea of fake bus stops has proved so successful that it has been adopted by nursing homes across Europe.