A personal care home in Winnipeg has found a creative way to prevent patients with dementia from walking out.

Artist Rachel Maes painted murals on doors at the Kildonan Personal Care Centre so they blend into their surroundings, She painted the exits to either blend into the wall or look like bookcases so they wouldn’t resemble a door. 

The murals are designed so that those living with dementia will walk right past them.

“The idea that it’s helping someone, I mean, I do a lot of murals and everyone likes them and they’re great to look at but this is actually a functional mural,” Maes said.

Recreation manager Corey Francis says doors can trigger anxiety for some of the residents with dementia. 

“Sometimes the way you have the environment placed it can be really supportive for residents with dementia,” he said.

Along with adding the murals, the care centre put up signs inviting residents to the activity lounge where they can complete everyday tasks like folding laundry or matchings socks. This helps to take their minds off leaving.

Albert Stevens, a resident at the care centre who doesn’t have dementia, said he’s comforted knowing that this simple idea is helping his neighbours.

“I don’t know who came up with the idea, but whoever did deserves a great big thanks,” Stevens said.

With files from Michelle Gerwing.