One of the most common symptoms of dementia is a habit known as wandering. Older adults with dementia often wander away from where they are supposed to be, which can put them in potentially dangerous situations. Some seniors have a specific destination in mind, while others walk around without any particular goal or purpose. If your aging loved one has recently started wandering, you need to implement some strategies to keep him or her in a safe location at all times.
1. Use Tracking Technology
Most specialists agree there are at least four types of dementia-related wandering, and each must be addressed in a different way. To discover which type of wandering your loved one is doing, you might want to use a tracking device that can be attached to a necklace or pair of shoes. Tracking technology can tell you where your loved one likes to go, how often he or she saunters around, and what time of day the wandering takes place. The information is generally stored in an online program or sent directly to a caregiver’s mobile device.
Caring for an elderly loved one with dementia can be a challenging task. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Grand Rapids, MI, in-home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
2. Inform Family, Friends, and Neighbors
Anyone who might find your loved one outside of the home or in a dangerous location should be notified of his or her condition as soon as possible. All of your loved one’s close friends and neighbors should have your home phone number, cell phone number, and address. You can also offer some simple tips to help them comfortably interact with your loved one.
3. Engage in Distracting Activities
Arguing with a senior with dementia is never a good idea, and it will most likely cause unnecessary tension. Instead of trying to convince your loved one that he or she is lost or doing something wrong, ask if he or she will help you find a specific object or complete a simple chore around the house. By the time the task has been completed, your loved one might completely forget to wander.
Hiring a professional caregiver is another way to ensure your loved one does not wander. An in-home care expert can offer regular mental and social stimulation to keep your loved one active and engaged. Families looking to hire a Grand Rapids caregiver can reach out to Home Care Assistance. All of our hourly and live-in caregivers receive extensive ongoing training to ensure they provide the high-quality in-home care seniors need and deserve.
4. Label Rooms, Doors, and Entryways
Older adults who have mild to moderate dementia often benefit from having clear labels around the home. On the doors and entryways of the home, put large labels that help your loved one find where he or she needs to go. Some experts also suggest putting recognizable pictures on the labels to make it easy for seniors to navigate through their own homes. Basic pictures of beds, toilets, televisions, and food containers can be placed near the entryway of each room to minimize confusion.
5. Continue to Exercise Together
Some seniors with dementia often wander around because they are restless and have energy to burn. Taking your loved one for walks around the block or to explore a local park a few times a week provides the chance to burn off some of that energy. By the time you are done walking together, your loved one might only want to sit down and relax. Even some light housework around the house may tire your loved one out and give him or her something to focus on.
Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Grand Rapids seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance. To learn about our revolutionary at-home care plans, give us a call at 616-243-0835 today.