A German nursing home has come up with a novel idea to stop Alzheimer's patients from wandering off: a phantom bus stop. The bus stop, in front of the Benrath Senior Centre... is an exact replica of a standard stop, with one small difference: buses never stop there.
The idea emerged after the centre was forced to rely on police to retrieve patients who wanted to return to their homes and families but had forgotten that in many cases neither existed any longer…
Without powers to detain patients, he said, Benrath... went to the Rheinbahn transport network which was happy to provide the bus stop to nowhere.
… Our members are 84 years-old on average. Their short-term memory hardly works at all, but the long-term memory is still active. They know the green and yellow bus sign and remember that waiting there means they will go home.” The result is that errant patients now wait for their trip home at the bus stop, before quickly forgetting why they were there in the first place.
“We will approach them and say that the bus is coming later today and invite them in to the home for a coffee,” said Mr Neureither. “Five minutes later they have completely forgotten they wanted to leave.”