Alzheimer’s disease (AD) can be increasingly difficult to cope with. The disease is progressive and often causes behaviors that are unsafe and hard for family members to manage. One behavior that puts older adults with AD at risk is wandering. The disease can cause them to leave the house and get lost. Not only is wandering dangerous for the senior, it also causes great stress for family members. If your aging relative with AD is wandering, below are some tips for managing the behavior.
Of course, the best way to deal with wandering is to stop it from occurring in the first place. To prevent your aging relative from leaving the house unattended, try some of these tips.
- Keep the House Secure: Make sure the locks on windows and doors are not easy for your aging relative to open. If they are, consider replacing them. You can also place locks up high where the older adult isn’t likely to see them. You can also use motion detectors. Or, for a less expensive option, put bells on the door that will jingle when it is opened.
- Childproof Knobs: For an extra layer of protection, put childproofing devices on doorknobs that make them difficult to turn.
- Use a Routine: A daily routine can reduce the urge to wander. It provides structure and may decrease the stress and anxiety that can lead to wandering.
- Identify Triggers: Watch for things that can trigger episodes of wandering. Some people are more apt to wander at certain times of the day. If that’s the case for your aging relative, keep a closer eye on them at that time.
What to Do When Your Loved One Wanders
In the event that your aging relative wanders away, it’s important to take steps to ensure they can return safely home. Some steps to take are:
- Make sure they have identification on them at all times, such as an ID bracelet or necklace.
- Inform neighbors and the local police of the person’s tendency to wander.
- If they wander away, search the area for no longer than 15 minutes, then call 911.
If your aging relative is prone to wandering, the best way to prevent a dangerous situation is to ensure they are supervised at all times. Elderly care can assist families to make sure constant supervision is available. Elderly care providers can be with the older adult when family caregivers are unavailable because of work or other commitments. Elderly care providers can also help the older adult to stick to a routine and provide distractions during times when they are likely to wander.
If you or an aging parent are considering hospice care in Upper Darby, PA, please contact the caring staff at Serenity Hospice today. Call (215) 867-5405.