7 Door Locks to Keep Dementia Patients Indoors

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If you have a parent, sibling, or spouse with Alzheimer’s you will know how challenging it is to keep them indoors. They are always trying to run out the door, and down the street. Sometimes they even grab a suitcase or two with them. This behavior is known as “Wandering”, and it is a symptom of Dementia. 

So, how to keep them indoors without making it inconvenient for others in the home? 

There are specialized locks available to make life easy for family caregivers. You can begin by sealing off the entry points to the attic, loft, utility room, backyard, basement, spare room, gym, and more. I would love to share some of the best door locks to keep Dementia patients indoors.

Here Are The Best Door Locks To Keep Dementia Patients Indoors

1. Prime-line door knob lock

The Prime-line door knob lock is to be fitted on top of a doorknob. It is removable and portable, it does not remain attached to the doorknob permanently. The metal housing prevents the dementia patient from turning the doorknob when locked. 

This device can also be used to prevent the dementia patient from gaining access to other knobs (such as the front door, garden hoses, bathrooms, home gym, etc) in the home. 

Furthermore, this door knob lock can also shut the entry point for the backyard.

After enclosing the doorknob in between the housing you are supposed to turn the key in the clockwise direction. The casing prevents the dementia patient from accessing the keyhole. 

Here’s a side story about this lock: A keyhole lock was used by homeowners and real estate agents. A homeowner could lock the main door from outside to prevent the troublesome tenant from entering the home in case of an eviction.

This is a silver (light gray) lock. Check out Defender Security S 4180 if you think dark gray will better suit your door. 

This product is suitable for: 

The keyed door knob lock is perfectly suited for caregivers who wish to seal a particular room in their house. Fidgeting heavy machinery or electrical can be potentially hazardous for a dementia patient. They won’t be able to enter a garage or a storage room— this device stops dementia patients in their tracks.


  • Keeps dementia patients from turning the doorknob 
  • Easy to use
  • No need to install it on the door
  • Simple mechanism


  • Prime-Line does not make a unique key combination for all locks
  • This device can be easily tampered with by a thief or a home intruder, it is not meant for home security

2. Glidelok door top lock – 2 pack

With the Glidelok installed, you can lock/unlock the door from both sides of the door frame— without worrying about the dementia patient getting locked in. 

Primarily, this device is designed for toddlers but it works perfectly for dementia patients.

It prevents dementia patients from leaving their room in the middle of the night. The Glidelok is a sneaky device. It is nearly undetectable. Your loved one won’t even know that it is there. 

The Glidelok comes with a U-shaped glider, a peg, and a screw. Installation is easy and stress-free. You need a drilling machine, a screwdriver, and a pencil. A 1/8″ drill hole is all you need to install the Glidelock.

This device works well with doors with a smooth and even surface. Door top locks can make a rattling noise every time someone glides it over the frame. This can also lead to indentations on the door surface. Hence, I suggest you occasionally rub the door surface with candle wax. 

You can always add a Dampone Cabinet Door Rubber Bumper between the door and the door frame. These felt protectors provide excellent sound cushioning. They also prevent damage to the surface of the door every time someone slams the door shut. 

This product is suitable for: 

A door top lock is a perfect solution for caregivers worried about their loved one wandering outdoors. This sneaky device sits on top of the door frame. A family member can activate the glide lock from both inside and outside the door. It is designed for both internal and external doors. 


  • Eco-friendly material, no plastic used
  • Easy-to-install
  • Can be locked/unlocked from both sides of the door
  • Works perfectly for short people. They cannot reach the GlideLok placed on the top of the door


  • The glider can make a rattling noise on a rough door surface
  • You might need to purchase door bumpers 

3. Defender security door reinforcement lock

Defender Security door reinforcement lock is designed to withstand 800 lbs of force. Primarily, this is a security device that is to be installed on the inner side of the door. When locked from the inside, it prevents burglars from breaking the door open. 

Dementia caregivers can benefit by installing this lock on the outer side of the patient’s room. When installed on the outer side of the door, you can lock/unlock this device from the outside. The occupant of the locked room will have no access to the Defender Security lock.

Since the door is locked from the outside, you don’t have to worry about the patient getting locked in. You can install this lock higher up the door frame so a child or a visitor does not unlock it accidentally. Doing this is important as the lock can be opened by simply swinging it away from the door. 

To install this device all you need is a drilling machine, Phillips screwdriver, safety glasses, and a pencil. The product package includes 3-inch hardened screws and an instruction manual. 

In addition, you might also need a chisel and a hammer for tight-fitting doors. Chiseling helps you align the mounting plate with the surface of the door jamb. 

Remember that this lock is to be installed on the door jamb. As I mentioned before, if you have a tight-fitting door you might have to chisel a few millimeters off the door jamb surface— so the lock fits flush on the door jamb. 

This product is suitable for: 

A door reinforcement lock is designed for additional protection against burglars. Attempts of breaking-and-entering can be reduced or prevented altogether by installing a door reinforcement lock on the main door, back door, or any other door that provides an entry point to your home.


  • Made with eco-friendly materials, no plastic is used
  • Can be locked/unlocked from outside the patient’s room
  • Available in six types of metals
  • Help contain aggressive dementia patients 


  • Customer service is not satisfactory
  • Average quality screws

4. Door lever lock by Tuut – 2 pack

This lock traps the door handle in between two lock arms. Once this device is activated, the dementia patient won’t be able to turn the door handle in either of the directions. 

Before installing this device to the door, ensure the alignment is correct. Place the lever lock behind the door handle such that the handle has enough room to operate. Once this is done, mark the circumference of the lever lock with a pencil. 

Next, peel the PE foam 3M adhesive tape and swiftly attach the lock to the marked position. 

I suggest you install a Tutt door lever lock on each of the doors in your home, especially the main door. 

Note that door lever locks are quite easy to deactivate for people with no cognitive difficulties. However, a middle or late-stage Alzheimer’s patient will struggle to deactivate it. 

After a few failed attempts at opening the door, they will most likely quit without further investigation.

This door lever lock is a blessing for the family members (and caregivers) of a dementia patient. Primarily, this device is used to prevent a toddler from opening the main door. You will be glad to know that it performs the same function for dementia patients with diminishing cognitive abilities. 

You can prevent your father or mother from wandering off outdoors without your permission. Note that this device is purely mechanical and hence it does not alert you when fiddled with. It merely obstructs your loved one and the door handle. In my opinion, it is semi-reliable.

This product is suitable for: 

You can lock a door with an easy-to-install door lever lock. These locks can be installed on either side of the door. Ideally, I would install a door lever lock on the outer side of the door. A locked door won’t allow your loved one with dementia to wander outdoors. You’ll rest easier as well.


  • Takes just a couple of minutes to install
  • Suitable for both main door and storm door


  • Not suitable for folks with mild cognitive impairment
  • Not suitable for door knob locks

5. Eudemon 4 pack door knob cover

As the name suggests, baby safety door knobs offer much-needed relief to parents trying to keep their toddlers from entering certain rooms in the house. Interestingly, this device can also be used for the same purpose by those with a family member in the later stages of dementia.

Remember that this device is a knob cover. It forms a layer over the knob. When a dementia patient tries to turn the knob, the cover rotates smoothly. But the knob itself does not move an inch. 

It is observed that dementia patients do not use force to open the door. They will most likely give up after one or two attempts. The package comes with 4 baby safety door knob covers. You can safeguard your entire home with a single pack.  

Note that this Eudemon door knob cover is not made with eco-friendly materials. This is one of the biggest drawbacks of this product. Generally, door locks are pure metal or an alloy. 

However, this is not a use-and-throw lock. It lasts for years. Once damaged you can dispose of it in a garbage bin. Fortunately, these products are separated from the general thrash and sent back to the factory where they are recycled. 

The Thermoplastic Rubber TPR used in this product is soft and gentle on the skin. It is a lot better to have a soft gel-like material rubbing over your doorknob. Metal covers can lead to scratches and lacerations on the doorknob. 

Eudemon baby door knob covers are easy to install. You don’t need to drill holes to install this device. Although you will need a Phillips screwdriver to release it when needed — the process is quite easy. 

Lastly, Eudemon strives to improve this product. The product that arrived at your doorstep may appear slightly different than the one displayed above. The newer versions serve the same purpose and function the same way as their older versions. 

This product is suitable for: 

This lock can help you prevent a family member with dementia from entering a room you don’t want them to visit. For instance, a dementia patient sleepwalking their way inside the pantry or a garage can turn hazardous. This handy device will keep them from turning the doorknob. 

It adds a layer over a doorknob. When turned clockwise or anticlockwise, the cover keeps the knob from rotating. Hence, the dementia patient finds it challenging to open the door. 

Editor’s Note: Remember that this device is made for toddlers. Depending on the extent of the cognitive decline, it may or may not work on a dementia patient.    


  • Effort-free installation, no tools needed
  • Made with a soft gel-like material
  • Does not cause any harm to the doorknob


  • Made with Thermoplastic Rubber TPR 
  • Need to be careful when releasing, rough handling can damage the product

6. Safety 1st prograde lever handle lock – 1 pack

This is another door lever lock that is easy to install. It is a C-ring lock and fits most lever locks. Specifically, the door lever locks that are 1 ⅜ – inches apart from the surface of the door.

It restricts the movement of a lever lock in either direction. The C-ring is equipped with a small button that functions as a lock. The lock button is difficult to spot, hence people with Dementia will most likely not notice it. 

I like that this lock fits snuggly on the surface of the door. It appears as if it is an integral part of the door lever lock. Your loved one will never know that it is there. 

Installation is easy. No power tools are needed. The Safety 1st Prograde Lever Handle lock attaches to itself with adhesive tapes. 

You can use this lock for a couple of purposes. 1) Lock a dementia patient inside their room. 2) Seal off a particular room so the dementia patient won’t enter it.

To lock the patient inside their room, you must attach this device outside the door. But make sure the lever lock on the inside does not operate independently. 

Secondly, you can seal off a particular room that has a lever lock on the outside.

This product is suitable for: 

This product is suitable for caregivers who wish to lock out a Dementia patient in their room. The door must have lever locks on both sides. You can also use this lock to prevent your loved one from entering a room.


  • No drilling needed 
  • No need to remove the lock
  • Multi-purpose lock


  • Only works if the inside and outside locks are linked together. The outside lock should move when the inside lock is turned

7. Safety 1st secure mount deadbolt lock

This is one of the best door locks for seniors who sneak out from the front door without informing their family members. It is easy to install— takes about five minutes. All you need is a screwdriver. 

The Safety 1st secure mount lock works with deadbolts less than 2 ⅙ – inches wide that protrude less than 1-inch from the door. 

The two gray buttons you see in the product image hold on to the secure mount. To open the lock, you need to turn the two gray buttons down and turn them in a clockwise direction. 

It is safe to assume that a person with middle or late stage Dementia will struggle to open this lock. This lock is primarily designed for toddlers, and it seems to be working great for parents who wish to keep their little ones from heading out of the front door. 

You can watch this YouTube video by Daily Cruzer to learn how to install it.

This product is suitable for: 

With this secure mount deadbolt lock, you can prevent a person with Dementia from wandering outside. The secure mount shields the key from inside. This product is meant for the inside of the front door. You can also use them on other exit points that have a deadbolt lock. 


  • Easy to install
  • Does not cause any damage to the door
  • No adhesive tapes or drilling is required


  • Not meant for aggressive Dementia patients who habitually break open the door

8. Safety 1st high door lock with pinch guard

This is another exciting lock from Safety 1st. This company makes some great locks for toddlers that can also be used to keep someone with Dementia safe. 

This is a high door lock that needs to be installed on the outside of the door. It also comes with an in-built pinch guard. 

You can use this lock for several purposes. The main purpose is to keep the person with Dementia from entering certain rooms. For this, you can install this lock outside of the door. 

It can be opened from both sides of the door, so no need to worry about getting locked out or locked in. You can also deactivate it when not in use. 

This lock is meant for those who routinely get their fingers pinched in the door. Finger pinch injuries (smashed finger) can lead to serious infections and it is best to prevent them in the first place. 

This lock can also help caregivers contain a Dementia patient in their rooms. A small gap will always be present between the door and door frame so the person inside doesn’t feel claustrophobic. And they can talk to family members in the home.

You can watch this YouTube video by Navy Exchange to learn how to install it.

This product is suitable for: 

This device is perfectly suited for caregivers who wish to make “opening the door” as difficult as possible, for their loved one with Dementia. It also has a pinch guard mechanism. It is suited for all kinds of interior doors. A lot of people have found it useful to seal off their basement. 


  • Perfect for the basement door
  • Prevents the door from slamming shut
  • Easy to install
  • Can be opened from inside and outside the door


  • Need to be installed high up the door where a person with Dementia can’t reach. This makes it difficult for other people in the family to lock and unlock it 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How does a door reinforcement lock help out a dementia caregiver? 

A study done by Johns Hopkins University states that some dementia patients can exhibit physically aggressive behavior. Although such cases are low, a door reinforcement lock installed on the outer side of the door can help you contain an enraged dementia patient. 

Why do you recommend door locks that are used in childproofing a home?

A Michigan-based study concludes that a Dementia patient’s brain shows similar characteristics to that of a toddler. Home security devices designed for young children can be useful for someone living with a dementia patient. Hence, I have discussed door locks that are used in childproofing a home. You can rely on these door locks to Dementia-proof your home. 

Is it illegal to lock a person in a house with Dementia?

It depends on the extent of the cognitive decline. If the person is capable of making decisions, you can ask their permission before locking the front door. If they are in the late stages of Dementia, then you must do what’s in their best interest. In my humble opinion, locking their room is fine, but you shouldn’t lock the front door as they would want an exit route in emergencies.

Will the person with Dementia get upset if I lock them in their room?

It’s most likely that you will lock their door at night when they are asleep. And you are doing this to keep them and other people in the home safe. Locking their door during the day can make them irritable. You should only do it if they are showing signs of aggregation. Or maybe when they need some time to clear their head.   

Why should prevent a person with Dementia from entering the basement?

The base is where most people store heat-generating equipment. The basement also contains combustible materials such as paper, wood, fuel, etc. Hence, it is important to keep a person with Dementia away. Although I don’t see any issue when they are accompanied by you or other family members. 

Why don’t they make specialized locks for people with Dementia?

At present, there isn’t much awareness about Dementia. The market for Dementia-related products is quite small. Hence, manufacturers don’t see any profit in designing locks made especially for people with this condition. This is my educated guess. 

What if the lock gets jammed? How do I break open the door in such a situation?

It is common for indoor locks to get jammed. This is why I have shared locks that used adhesive tapes. These locks can be removed with less effort. If they malfunction, you can simply cut them with a fine-toothed saw, a kitchen knife, or a pair of scissors. 

Final verdict

Of the products discussed in this article, it is difficult to choose one as every lock offers something unique. They need to be used for a specific purpose. 

I suggest you go for the one from Prime-line for door knobs, and Safety 1st lock for lever handles.

 As I mentioned, each lock solves a unique problem, hence you should go for the one that offers a solution to the problem you are facing. 

We have come to end of the article. Do you have any questions? Please leave a comment below. I will be happy to help.


  1. Is there a keyless interior door lock that can be opened from outside as well when the interior door lock is in the locked position?

  2. Is it legal (or comply with most local building ordinances) to put a door lock on an OUTSIDE door, effectively locking the dementia patient inside the house?

    1. Hi Dave,
      I am not sure about the legal implications of locking or trapping a person with dementia in a home. But for safety reasons, you should not lock the MAIN/OUTSIDE door with a dementia patient inside all my themselves.
      You can lock their room from outside only if they are not alone in the house.

  3. Great options, thank you! I am my mother’s full-time caregiver but my brother and his family live in her house, too. They are always coming and going and mostly doing their own thing, so I never know when they’re leaving or when they’ll be home unless I ask. These options will help when no one else is home but me or they’re busy doing something else and I have to take a shower, or while I’m in the kitchen and can’t see what my mother is up to.

  4. Can you place the prime lock door on the inside of the front door? Just to prevent him from opening the door and wandering out. And someone chasing after them from 2 rooms away

  5. This morning when I got out of bed, I found my mother-in-law outside on the porch sitting in a rocker. We were lucky that she didn’t walk away from the house. What kind of lock can I install that cannot only be unlocked on the inside by her, but my husband can relock when he leaves to go to work. We have 3 doors that we would need to install locks on.

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