Tuesday Tips for Caregivers – Tips for Wandering
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 3 out of 5 people with dementia will wander. That’s a staggering 60 percent of those affected with Alzheimer’s or dementia. The statistics can be frightening; however, if we know how to battle these issues we can keep our loved ones out of harm’s way. Perfection is hard when caregiving, so it is important to not pressure yourself on achieving it.
The following tips can help ensure your loved one doesn’t become a part of these statistics.
- Keep your loved one active during the day. Scheduling activities outdoors for fresh air and a different atmosphere can greatly improve their mood for one, but most importantly, it will help keep a routine of physical exercise that keeps their body running the way it should.
- Monitor the times of day when wandering may be at its peak. Your loved one may sundown or act out at certain points in the day when their needs are not being met. Ensure at these times, that you have an activity planned to distract and redirect them in a positive manor.
- Monitor that their basic needs are met. Do they need to use the restroom? Have they eaten a good breakfast? Could they be thirsty? When a person with dementia cannot express what they need anymore, they may act out and wander.
- Rearrange living arrangements. If your loved one loves to go out the front door for fresh air, try installing a lock above their line of reach or a door alarm that can alert you anytime a door is opened. You can even paint a front door or cover it with a picture to deter them from leaving.
- Make sure your loved one knows they are safe. Safe can have multiple meanings to a dementia patient. Think back to when you were a child, and nothing felt safer than lying in the arms of your mommy. Try this for your loved one. They need to feel that their emotional needs are being met and someone is there for them at all times.
- Always keep an eye out. It is more than important to ensure your loved one is not left alone. Never leave them unattended in a vehicle or in the home.
If your efforts to prevent wandering haven’t worked and your loved one has wandered off, what should you do?
Your natural reaction will probably be to run outside and frantically search in any direction. But experts say that the first thing you should do is call 911 to alert the authorities. If your loved one is registered with organizations like Project Lifesaver or the Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return program, you can call them, too. Once you’ve done that, you can start looking yourself. For more information, please call us at (888) 285-0093.