How to Prevent Wandering in Older Adults with Dementia

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Seniors with dementia exhibit many unusual behaviors, and one particularly difficult tendency is wandering. Many seniors start walking off in a random direction without their caregivers being aware of it, which can be quite dangerous. The following tips can keep a senior from wandering around after developing dementia.

Put Door Locks in Hard-to-Reach Places

When you are at home with your loved one, always have the doors locked to prevent him or her from wandering away. Most seniors with dementia only check traditional places for door locks, so locks and bolts placed high up or low down on the door may deter your loved one.

If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Lincoln home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services.

Watch for Wandering Triggers

In most cases of wandering, there is some sort of a trigger that makes a senior feel confused, lost, or distressed. Wandering is particularly common as the sun is setting, when people visit, if your loved one is hungry, or right after he or she wakes up. During times your loved one is more likely to wander, try to keep a close eye on him or her.

Create a Daily Routine

Getting into a regular routine can prevent seniors with dementia from wandering off because they have a vague thought that it is time to go to work or time to go home. A schedule is important to people with dementia because their long-term memory is better than their short-term memory. Always following the same routine can provide structure and reduce wandering.

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Install Alarms

Home alarm systems can alert you whenever a door or window in the home is opened, which lets you know your loved one may be about to wander off. If your loved one is undeterred by other methods of preventing wandering, an alarm can ensure you are aware of him or her leaving as soon as it happens.

Supervise and Reassure

Never leave your loved one alone in a home or car, especially if the environment is new. You might think your loved one is locked in, but seniors who are feeling distressed and scared may be very creative at finding ways to leave. It’s best to always provide some supervision so you can talk to your loved one if he or she wants to go somewhere else.

Avoid Crowded and Disorienting Places

Seniors with dementia are very distractible, so in busy places it’s easy for something to catch their eyes and make them walk away. If your loved one tends to wander, it may be wise to avoid visiting grocery stores, malls, parks, and other busy places, but if you must take your loved one to these places, make sure he or she is with you at all times.

Caring for a loved one with dementia can be challenging for caregivers especially if managed alone. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Lincoln, NE, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, call us at (402) 817-1976.