Three in five people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia will wander. This is a potentially dangerous symptom of cognitive decline that occurs when an older adult with dementia is trying to find something or someone. It can be the result of fear, discomfort, or anxiety. Wandering can be dangerous for older adults. Almost 50% of older adults who wander will suffer an injury, fall, fracture, or some elemental exposure. Fortunately, research shows that certain strategies can help reduce dementia wandering. Read on to learn more about the ways to prevent wandering in older adults!
In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, it might be okay for someone to be alone for short periods of time. As dementia progresses, constant supervision will likely be necessary. Stay with your loved one in changing or new environments, including parks, stores, and restaurants. If you are their primary caregiver, you can consider getting in-home care so that you can work, run errands, or spend time with family. If the situation worsens and your loved one needs greater care, you can move them to a retirement community with a memory program.
Make use of neutral floor mats and door coverings to reduce exit-seeking behaviors. You can try using removable paint, curtains, or wallpaper that matches the walls around to obscure exits. You can also make use of posters that say “Emergency Exit” or “Do Not Enter”.
Plan Meaningful Activities
The more engaged the individual is, the less likely they are to wander. Older adults who get bored throughout the day are likely to become restless at night. Make sure to provide plenty of opportunities for mental stimulation and exercise. Note what times of day your loved one is prone to wander, and plan engaging activities to do during that time.
Prepare Your Home
Locks, alarms, and motion-sensing devices are there to alert you when your loved one moves about unsupervised. Other devices can keep them safe when wandering occurs. These useful home preparations include the following:
- Installing pressure-sensitive alarm mats
- Attaching bells to doors
- Fencing the yard
- Installing sliding bolts on the doors
- Using child-proof covers on doorknobs
Redirect and Validate
Rather than correcting your loved one, try to redirect them to prevent wandering. Instead of telling them they cannot go somewhere, suggest a different activity that is calming and safe. Also, use validation to help them feel secure.
Over-stimulating environments, loud noises and new places can lead to confusion. Provide your loved one with a calm and peaceful environment, especially during the times when your loved one is prone to wandering.
Experience Senior Living at Caruth Haven Court
At Caruth Haven Court, our top-notch retirement community has all that you need to live an engaged and fulfilled life. Our aim is to raise the standards of senior living and improve your well-being. We provide you with comfortable and cozy homes, great amenities and a packed schedule of fun events and activities. Come experience it for yourself today! Feel free to contact us for more information.