Four Tips to Reduce Wandering in Alzheimer’s Patients

Alzheimer's DiseaseAlzheimer’s Care

Being the caregiver of an aging loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease can mean you’re caring for your loved one in new ways that you never dreamed about. One symptom that many Alzheimer’s patients suffer from, and thus many Alzheimer’s care providers need to find solutions for is wandering.

Memory loss that is often associated with Alzheimer’s disease can cause disorientation, confusion, and aggravation in many people who have the disease. Those feelings will then sometimes cause a symptom of Alzheimer’s that’s called wandering. It refers to the unpredictable wandering away from their safe home, whether that’s on foot or by vehicle. It can be a dangerous situation for your loved one and cause tremendous worry for the caregiver.

There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of your loved one wandering away from home unsupervised when you provide Alzheimer’s care. Here are four steps to begin with, but as your loved one changes, you may need to make adjustments or look at hiring an Alzheimer’s care provider to help you keep your loved one safe.

  1. Adjust your locks. Simply having locks on the doors may not be enough to keep your loved one from wandering away from home unsupervised. The key is to either put the lock in an area that your loved one won’t see or to make the lock complicated enough that your loved one cannot operate it without your help. The locks should only be used when another person is in the home with your loved one, and they should never be locked in the home alone. If you need to leave the home, hiring an Alzheimer’s care provider to come and stay with your loved one while you’re away is a good option to keep them safe.
  2. Install an alarm to alert you if an exit has been used. Remember to not only include doors but also any main-floor windows that your loved one might try to exit. Some options are motion sensors, pressure-sensitive mats for the floor, and door and window monitors. These devices will sound an alarm when triggered, letting you know that your loved one has either entered a certain area of the home, gotten out of their chair or bed, or opened a door or window.
  3. Give time to wander. If your loved one has a pattern of wanting to wander at a specific time of day (such as early evening), set aside time each night for a walk around the block with a caregiver or your loved one’s Alzheimer’s care provider. You might bring your loved one to a park and let him wander the open spaces while being watched. Many times getting out like this helps the patient sleep better at night.
  4. Alert neighbors and officials. Having others around your home know that your loved one shouldn’t be out by himself will help keep him safe if he does get outside unsupervised.
    Hopefully, these steps will reduce the risk of your loved one wandering and help bring him back home quickly just in case he does.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring alzheimer’s care in Auburn, CA, talk to the caring staff at Partners in Care today. Serving El Dorado, Nevada, Yuba, Sutter, Sacramento, Placer, Butte, Glenn, Yolo, & Colusa Counties!
Call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! (530) 268-7423

Shaun Clinkinbeard