How to prevent seniors from wandering

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Seniors wandering out of their long term care homes about isn’t a surprising thing anymore. In fact, seeing a senior wandering is a sin that you should probably go out of your way to help. Who knows, that may be you or a loved one in the future.

The Alzheimer’s Association has stated that 60% of people with Alzheimer’s (and dementia) will wander. For those with loved ones suffering from this malady, that is a disturbing statistic. None of us want to discover a loved one gone from their room or the house, and nowhere to be seen. Anything can befall them, and there will be periods of panic until you get them safely home. What to do, then, if you have a loved one who tends to wander? Here are a few tips:

  1. Keep doors with access to the outside closed at all times. And windows too. You can also install special door locks that are easily operated by normal people, but will confound people with Alzheimer’s or dementia for hours. This is especially comforting for people whose loved ones could wander in the middle of night, and not discovered to be missing until daylight.
  2. Keep all keys (house and car keys) hidden. This complements the tip above. Since people with Alzheimer’s might forget that they’re not supposed to drive, keeping car keys hidden will ensure that they will not endanger themselves or the public.
  3. Seniors with nothing to do get agitated and restless. Before they wander off, plan activities for them. These can be trips to the park, visiting favorite restaurants, or going to past hangouts. Music and art therapy have also been shown to reduce stress, apart from helping with their condition.
  4. In contrast to hiding keys and locking doors, you can help prevent a loved one from wandering by making food and water accessible to them. People with Alzheimer’s or dementia can wander because they’re hungry or thirsty. Placing food and water in areas where they can easily be found will help prevent them from walking around looking for something to eat or drink.
  5. A GPS tracker will give peace of mind to the people caring for a person with Alzheimer’s. Bells on doors with access to the outside also help. You can also use motion detectors in hallways and the bed to notify you if your loved is is moving about.

With tens of millions of people projected to suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia by 2050, it pays to be aware of the early signs of this disease now. Seniors wandering is one of the disturbing signs, so arm yourself with knowledge of cognitive decline. You and your loved ones may need a Victoria BC care home in the not-so-distant future.