Locating items: Is there a product to help my friend with dementia to easily locate her keys and walking poles?

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Is there a product to help my friend with dementia to easily locate her keys and walking poles?


I have a friend with Dementia who continually misplaces her house keys in the house and believes someone has stolen them. She misplaces other things as well but keys are the major problem. I wondered about a keyless lock on her door. She has only one door or is there anything you can attach to a key that would help her find them? Her memory is getting worse but she is completely independent otherwise, physically fit, very healthy and totally independent. She does tend to remove items (cards, money) from her wallet. She does not worry about anything except her lost keys and fanny pack. Her neighbour keeps a key to the house but primarily the key is misplaced in the house. I wanted to mention she is very resistant to change.  I suggested attaching her key to something that would be more visible rather then carrying a single key and she was quite opposed saying it would be too heavy. One other issue has just occurred, she lost her walking poles which she loves and uses all the time.  I think she put them down somewhereto free her hands and left forgot.  I wondered about straps she could put her hands through so she did not have to let go. 

Our answer

For seniors living independently losing house keys can be a challenging problem. If she plans to continue to use a single key, there are some simple solutions, such as brightly coloured key caps, or key turners.

  • House Key Caps by Lucky Line (at Amazon Canada) are brightly coloured, textured, vinyl key caps that stretch over the top of the key making them more visible. This product costs about $16 (CDN) for a pack of 10. Many local locksmiths and hardware stores may carry similar products.
  • Key Turner, by SP Ableware Maddak Key Turner by SP Ableware Maddak (at theraquatics.com) features an ergonomic shape to assist with turning the key and comes in a highly visible neon yellow. This product costs about $6 (USD), plus a shipping fee.

There are plenty of great options for keyless entry, some use a numerical passcode to grant access, and other may include fingerprint access or access with a smartphone application. It’s important to consider the individual and what they would be most comfortable with before making a purchase. There are keyless entry products available at hardware stores such as The Home Depot, and Rona. If you are unsure about which product is a good fit or the process of installation, you may want to reach out to a local locksmith.

Regarding the walking poles, there are a few products designed to hold canes that may be helpful for storing the walking poles at home, or while seated. Wrist straps can be beneficial for keeping walking poles from getting lost, but do pose a risk if used while walking. If the user were to fall while the wrist straps were around the wrists it could result in an injury. The Ergobracelet Wrist Strap (at ergoactives.com) is a wrist strap that attaches to most canes and walking sticks, it features a lightweight ergonomic design and high visibility colour.

Dementia Care Central provides some strategies for managing the misplacement of items, such as using memory aids or keeping spare copies of all important items.

You might also be interested in reading some other articles on Ability411:

How can I find lost keys in the home?

What devices could help my mom find her keys and purse?

What’s another way to carry or store your house keys so you don’t lose them?

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