Of all the outcomes of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, one of the most concerning is the individual’s tendency for wandering. The dangers of wandering with dementia may cause the older adult to become disoriented or lost. Wandering may possibly occur if the senior loved one is:
- Tending to a simple necessity such as trying to find a glass of water or visiting the bathroom
- Wanting to keep a familiar past routine such as planning to go to a job or shopping
- Trying to find someone or something
- Frightened, confused or overwhelmed
If you are caring for a loved one that is experiencing a form of dementia, it is important to keep the senior safe, and also to be certain that his/her needs are fulfilled in order to attempt to stop the desire to wander in the first place. Try the following dementia wandering prevention tips if a senior loved one in your care begins to show signs of wandering:
- Utilize any locks that are in place which the senior is not able to master, such as a sliding bolt lock above his/her range of vision, as well as alarms, even something as simple as placing a bell over doorknobs. It’s also a good idea to register the person for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return Program.
- Disguise exits by covering doors with curtains, positioning temporary folding barriers strategically around doorways, or even using wallpaper or paint to match the doors to the surrounding walls. You can even try placing “NO EXIT” signs on doors, which may sometimes dissuade people in the earlier stages of dementia from trying to exit.
- An additional hazard for individuals who wander is the elevated risk of falling. Examine each room of the home and take care of any tripping concerns, such as removing throw rugs, electrical cords, and any obstructions which may be blocking walkways, ensuring sufficient lighting is switched on, and utilizing gates at the very top and bottom of stairways.
It’s important to keep in mind that with guidance and direction, wandering is not necessarily a problem. Go for a walk outside with the senior anytime weather allows and the person is in the mood to be on the go, providing the additional benefit of fresh air, physical exercise, and quality time together.
For additional dementia wandering prevention tips, contact the dementia care specialists at Endeavor In Home Care. Our compassionate care team is available to provide respite care for families, assistance with personal care needs, and engaging activities to help your loved one remain active. Give us a call today at (480) 498-2324 to schedule a free in-home assessment and to learn about why we are one of the leading caregiver agencies in Phoenix, AZ and the surrounding areas.