A recent article in the Telegraph UK featured a story about using a fake bus stop as a simple yet effective way to prevent dementia patients from wandering off.

Directors at the Benrath Senior Centre in Duesseldorf, Germany, tired of relying on local authorities to round up roving patients, joined forces with a local care association and the public transportation department to erect a faux bus stop outside their facility.

The idea is that seniors who wander will recognize the familiar green and yellow bus stop and wait there to be taken home. Care givers retrieve the patients from the stop by telling them the bus will be along shortly, and then they invite them in for a cup of coffee, says Richard Neureither, Benrath’s director.

This offbeat concept has proven so effective that several other nursing homes around Germany have set up their own bus stops to snare seniors.

I saw a similar set up when I visited some IAHSA member facilities in Australia a few years back. In addition to the fake bus stop, they also had an automobile in the yard that dementia patients could sit in to recreate the sense of everyday traveling. What a good idea! And it works.