Wandering behavior can seem perplexing to family caregivers who look after seniors with dementia. Wandering is common in aging adults with dementia for a number of reasons, mostly related to the notion that they are trying to walk somewhere that isn’t part of their current life. Not only is wandering dangerous to the elderly adult, it can lead to plenty of worry and frustration for the family caregiver who looks after them.
Why Does Dementia Trigger Wandering?
There are several reasons why dementia causes elderly adults to wander from home. Most elderly adults feel various anxiety triggers and cannot control their overwhelming thoughts. They may try to recreate past routines or visit familiar locations that no longer exist or that haven’t been important to them for many decades.
Still other seniors with dementia desire to see people that are long gone or who have grown up beyond what their own memories tell them. No matter what the cause of the anxiety, it is what motivates them to wander. Family caregivers and home care providers must find ways to thwart the elderly adult with dementia, so they don’t leave the property and get hurt, scared or lost.
Are There Ways to Prevent Seniors with Dementia from Wandering?
It only takes a moment of distraction for an elderly person with dementia to slip out of the house and head down the street. Family caregivers are so busy that they may not even notice the senior is gone for some time. It’s important to have a plan in place to prevent wandering, and have everyone support it, from family members and friends to home care providers.
Here are just a few ways that caregivers can reduce the chances of the elderly adult in wandering off:
- Place locks on any doors leading to the outside
- Set up an alarm every time an outside door opens
- Get a tracking device for the senior to wear
- Talk to the neighbors about the wandering relative and to call if they spot them outside
- Keep a strict schedule so the aging adult doesn’t have time to feel anxious
- Avoid leaving the aging adult alone, even for a minute
- Redirect them to something else if they are insistent upon going out
- Validate feelings of anxiety and worry without giving in too much
It goes without saying that elderly adults with dementia can get into some danger when they wander. Not only are issues like traffic and getting lost a big deal, but there are those out there who might take advantage of a vulnerable adult. Family caregivers and home care providers must be vigilant in protecting elderly adults with dementia and do everything they can to prevent them from wandering.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering caregivers in Sauk Centre, MN, please contact the caring staff at Alternative Senior Care today. Providing Home Care in Central Minnesota and Surrounding Communities. Call us Today (320) 352-3350.
Cindy grew up in Sauk Centre and raised her three children here. She has five grandchildren.Married to Mike since 2010, she keeps busy with gardening and outdoor activities.
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