Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients can have a break with the present. They can be convinced they are decades younger than they are and have to do something or go someplace they used to do or go 25 years ago. The can slip out of their assisted living facilities and head out into the world, unprepared for the weather or dangers they face, especially since they can be in their own separate reality at that point. How do stop this?
One solution would be to put better locks on the assisted living facility, and increase security. But then you start turning it into a prison. A facility in Germany came up with a better idea.
They built a bus stop to nowhere right outside.
To go about their important business, the patients first are convinced they need to catch the bus. When someone now wanders off, staff don't have to chase them through the town.
Because the patient will usually be waiting for the bus. At that bus stop. And the bus will never come.
I heard this story on WNYC's Radiolab podcast. It's 15 minutes along and it is a fascinating, sad, hopeful, and well told story that is more than work the quarter hour. You can read more and listen to it here.