Does your Loved One Wander Off?

The Alzheimer’s Association says that 60 percent of people with dementia will wander.   Anyone in the beginning stages of dementia is a candidate for wandering. Of course, wander may result in confusion, panic, and falls, leading to serious injuries. Here are some early warning signs your loved ones are showing that you should be aware of:

-Consistently arrives late when driving or walking by themself

-Walks into the wrong room in the house or goes outside by accident.

-Get’s nervous in public spaces.

Here are some helpful tips if your loved one might be wandering.  

  1. Hide the keys. One of the most dangerous activities for a wanderer is driving.  A person with dementia may not remember they no longer have a license or that you don’t want them to drive a car.  

2. Alarms and monitors. Several new technologies keep your parent safe if they are a wanderer.  Many of us have GPS systems on our phones, but they are also available in devices and watches to detect wandering.  Many people will also set up alarms on the bed or doors to notify family members the loved one is walking independently.

3. Keep the doors shut. Keeping exterior doors and windows closed will help prevent wandering. Many people will get special locking devices on their doors (similar to baby locks).

4. Have an Active Routine.  Exercise, art, and fun activities are a great way to stimulate the mind and release stress, which lessens the desire for wandering.  

5. Keep them hydrated. Wandering may occur when your loved one is thirsty.  If this happens in the middle of the night, it can lead to even more risk since people get disoriented or easily lost in the dark.   In addition, being dehydrated can make the symptoms of Alzheimer’s worse since our brains need water to function correctly.  

Find a Memory Care Home

Caring for a loved one with wandering issues is a lot of stress on the caregiver.  Many falls and accidents occur with this group, resulting in hospitalizations and rehab.   If you need help figuring out a strategy for care, whether finding in-home care or researching the memory care options in San Luis Obispo County, we can help. Call David at (805)748-2614.