Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Preventing Your Senior with Dementia From Wandering

If your elderly loved one suffers from dementia, their safety becomes a real concern. Home care professionals explain that those with dementia often wander off, and can find themselves in highly dangerous situations as a result. In order to protect your senior and deter them from exiting the home on their own, it’s important to develop a safe environment where they feel at peace. To do this, follow these tips:

Secure the home

Make it harder for your senior to slip out and wander off by putting deadbolts on doors, high and out of reach. You may also consider outfitting your home with door and window alarms. According to those who work in dementia care, Chapel Hill families should also look into buying an alarmed mat that goes off when your senior gets out of bed. This can help you to intervene before your loved one exits the home.

Provide comfort

Many times, an elderly individual will wander off because they feel unsettled in the house. They may not remember how to find the bathroom or may feel disoriented. To help cut down on these instances, consider hanging a sign on the bathroom door that reminds the senior that this is where the bathroom is located. This can cut down on confusion, and may prevent them from getting distressed and leaving. 

Determine patterns

It’s common for an elderly loved one to leave the home due to certain triggers or patterns. For instance, they may think that they need to get to work so they head out, or perhaps they’re worried about a garden they had years ago and try to go outside to tend to it. If you can detect these patterns, you can soothe your elderly parent and remind them that everything is being taken care of. This helps to keep them calm and prevents the urge to wander off.

Plan group outings carefully

If you’re heading to the park, beach, or another large public space, plan the outing well in advance. It’s easy for your loved one to get overwhelmed in these situations and disappear from the rest of the group. Ask an extra person to tag along to help you keep watch on your senior. Also try to select a place with family-friendly bathrooms.

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