Germany -- Faux bus stops outside assisted-care facilities help keep old people from wandering off.
A German nursing home has created a pretend bus stop to prevent Alzheimer's patients from wandering off.
The bus stop, outside the Benrath Senior Centre in Dusseldorf, is an exact replica of a standard stop but no buses call 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.
"If we can't find them then we have to alert the police," said Benrath's director Richard Neureither. "It can be particularly dangerous if this happens in winter and they spend the night out in the cold."
Without powers to detain patients, he said, Benrath teamed up with local care association, the Old Lions, and went to the Rheinbahn transport network which was happy to provide the bus stop to nowhere.
"It sounds funny," said Old Lions Chairman Franz-Josef Goebel, "but it helps. 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.
"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."
The idea has proved so successful that it has now been adopted by several other old folks' homes across Germany.
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