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How to Keep Someone with Dementia from Wandering

March 4, 2022

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As you may already know, symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can cause various issues. It’s not uncommon for older adults with dementia to become confused, disoriented and worried. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 6 in 10 individuals living with Alzheimer’s will wander at some point in their journey. As a caregiver, how can you keep someone with dementia from wandering?

Wandering is hard to prevent and you can’t keep an eye on your loved one all hours of the day and night. That makes it essential to take precautions to keep your loved one safe and sound and minimize the risk of wandering.

10 Ways to Prevent Wandering Behavior in a Loved One

It’s not possible to eliminate the risk that your loved one with Alzheimer’s will roam. But it is possible to take many precautions to prevent wandering behavior and create a safe space in case your loved one does start to move around.

  1. Install door locks – Specialized locks and tracking devices can be installed on doors, windows, and gates. If your loved one does try to wander, it will be difficult for them to leave.
  2. Install video or wandering alarms – There are many options for video alarms that will alert caregivers if a loved one is attempting to roam.
  3. Provide a safe space – If possible, make some adjustments to your loved one’s living quarters to make it safe if they do roam. Removing tripping hazards, covering sharp corners, and blocking stairs can go a long way toward keeping your loved one safe.
  4. Look for patterns – Many people living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia have patterns to their behaviors. If you can identify triggers, you can keep an eye on your loved one before they have the chance to wander.
  5. Warn neighbors and authorities – If your loved one has wandered before, it’s a good idea to notify your neighbors and local law enforcement that there’s a possibility it will happen again.
  6. Use a tracking device – GPS tracking devices can be beneficial in helping you quickly find your loved one if they do roam away from the house unsupervised.
  7. Always have medical identification – If you have concerns that your loved one might wander, create a necklace or bracelet for them to wear with medical identification information and your contact information.
  8. Camouflage exits – You can discourage individuals with dementia from roaming by covering up doors to the outside. Consider placing a stop sign or other warning message on the door to act as a signal to stay away.
  9. Hide keys, wallets, and purses – Make it as difficult as possible for your loved one to roam by hiding easily accessible car keys and wallets.
  10. Be prepared – It’s not easy to plan for your loved one to wander, but it’s important. Snap a photo of your loved one each day, so you have an up-to-date picture of the clothing they’re currently wearing.

What Causes Wandering?

There are many reasons individuals living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia wander. They might feel fearful or stressed. They could simply be bored. They may be signaling a desire to live out familiar routines, such as leaving the house to go to a job. Or maybe they’re just searching for something, even if they can’t explain exactly what that is. It’s best to talk to your loved one so you can identify patterns in their behavior or thought processes to help you prevent episodes of roaming in the future.

Specialized Care and Support When Your Loved One Needs Help

At Autumn Leaves, our team specializes in helping seniors living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia find the right level of care and support. We can help address your loved one’s medical, social and spiritual needs through our individualized care.

Learn more about our assisted living community and schedule a visit so you and your loved one can experience all our Dallas, TX, senior living community has to offer.

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