There are a lot of different symptoms and challenges that come along with Alzheimer’s disease. One that is particularly concerning for family caregivers is wandering. For many seniors this means that they wander around the house, seemingly without a purpose. But the most dangerous form of wandering is when someone leaves the house entirely, even becoming lost. Wandering puts seniors at serious risk of harm, so it’s important for families to understand as much as possible about wandering. Alzheimer’s care providers can offer valuable support with this.
Understand Why Wandering Occurs
Wandering happens for a variety of different reasons. Sometimes seniors with Alzheimer’s disease are restless or bored, so they wander. Sometimes confusion is the driving force behind wandering. Most common, however, is that seniors have a basic need that they’re not sure how to meet on their own, such as hunger or needing the bathroom. Identifying the underlying cause helps families put solutions in place.
Address Safety Issues
Safety is always the biggest concern with wandering. Securing the home is a good first step. This can mean putting chemicals and sharp objects in locked cabinets and drawers. It also means ensuring that the home is clutter-free and safe for seniors to navigate. Home care providers can help families to keep up with these tasks.
Make Exiting the House Alone More Difficult
It’s also really important to make sure that it isn’t incredibly easy for seniors to leave the house on their own. Adding door alarms can help family members and caregivers to hear when exterior doors are opened, for instance. It’s also a good idea to add locks or bolts that are difficult for seniors to operate alone. Sometimes it’s even helpful to camouflage exterior doors to make them more difficult to access.
Address Underlying Causes of Wandering
The most helpful thing to do next is to address the underlying causes of wandering. This can be as simple as having some routines in place that meet needs throughout the day, hopefully before those needs have a chance to become upsetting. Alzheimer’s care providers are extremely skilled at helping families to recognize why their seniors might be wandering and helping to stay on top of needs throughout the day.
Get Specialized Help from Alzheimer’s Care Services
Many families wait to get extra help. They might worry that it’s too soon to have extra help from Alzheimer’s care services or they might feel as if they should be able to do it on their own. But the reality is that caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease is incredibly challenging. Having support and assistance from the beginning can make a huge difference for everyone involved.
Wandering is a problem that can be addressed fairly easily with the right support systems in place. Alzheimer’s care providers are able to help families ensure that their seniors are safe and happy in their homes and that their daily needs are handled. This helps family caregivers to have peace of mind, but it also helps to reduce the complications seniors are likely to experience.
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