Wandering is a symptom associated with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. It occurs when those afflicted become confused or disoriented. As they grow increasingly agitated in familiar places, they leave in search of familiar surroundings. Anyone with dementia is at risk and it can occur during any stage of the disease.
Signs to be Aware of
As a family caregiver, it’s important to know the signs that may suggest your parent is becoming increasingly agitated or lost in familiar places. Some clues that this is occurring include frequent pacing, getting lost in their own home, and becoming nervous in crowds.
Tips to Prevent Wandering
- Providing your loved one with a daily routine can help make them feel secure. This may include a walk at the same time every day. Relaxing afternoon activities may include a shared cup of tea, reading one of their favorite books together or enjoying an easy-to-follow comedy. Keep their environment as stress-free as possible and their days filled with routine and enjoyable activities.
- If you find your parent gets restless and agitated during a certain time of day, schedule activities for that time. Distraction and keeping the mind of someone with dementia busy helps to prevent it from creating paranoid and anxiety ridden thoughts.
- It is pointless to argue with your parent or try to convince them that what they believe is inaccurate. Help them feel safe and secure by letting them know that you will be there to provide for and protect them, even when they want to “go home” and are already there.
- Avoid crowded areas that can become confusing.
- Set them up with a monitoring system. There are products on the market that will call the family caregiver should your loved one step out of designated boundaries. They also have a GPS tracking device so that you can determine where your loved one has wandered off to. Of course, it’s important to find a way to ensure that your loved one will wear it at all times. In addition, find a neighbor you can call who can provide an immediate visual and take action should your parent leave their home. Contact the police within 15 minutes if you cannot find them and report that a vulnerable adult is missing.
Home Care Provider
Caring for a loved one with dementia requires constant attention to detail. Make sure you take some time off on a weekly basis in order to recharge and lead a balanced life. Consider obtaining the services of a home care provider. They have cared for countless individuals facing this disease and understand the unique considerations. Not only do they help with the daily activities of living, they also provide the companionship so important to someone experiencing the effects of dementia.