People with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may engage in behavior known as wandering. In some cases, the wandering is benign, with your aging family member wandering around the house in search of something. In later stages of these diseases, however, your senior’s wandering might involve trying to leave the house.
Is There a Purpose for Wandering?
Wandering almost always has a purpose. Even if you’re not sure what’s causing it, there’s a triggering event. Your senior might be hungry or thirsty. She might need the bathroom. She might start to wander if she’s tired and isn’t sure where her bedroom is now. All these reasons and more can contribute to a situation in which she becomes restless first and then wanders away. If you’re not sure what the cause is, keep in mind that being bored or under stimulated can be the trigger.
Routines Can Solve Some of These Issues
Some of these situations are easily rectified with a routine that hits all the high points. Pay attention to how long it usually takes for your senior to need the bathroom after eating, for instance, and then start building a schedule. When you’re reasonably certain that the routine is covering the bases, you can start to look for the solutions that might be a little more out of the range of normal wandering.
Some Techniques Help with Breakout Urges to Wander
Even though wandering usually has a trigger or reason behind it, there are still those times when you just can’t find what’s causing the behavior. A memory could have been triggered by a sound or a picture and that might not be something your senior can communicate to you at all. Distractions can help when you’ve got nothing else to offer your senior to resolve her wandering. Ask for help with a task or offer a favorite snack or activity. Sometimes this can help to redirect her attention.
Make Her Home as Secure as Possible
If your senior is wandering, it’s time to think about home security in a new way. For now, your senior may need to be protected from things like wandering out an exterior door and leaving home entirely. Using chain locks, normally a security solution, can be helpful, especially if they’re hung high on the door where they’re difficult for your senior to reach. You might also consider adding an alarm that sounds when the door opens. All these options can help to make it more difficult for your senior to leave the house completely alone.
If your senior is starting to wander more and more, it might help to have enriching activities and even outings planned for her. It gets complicated to do that, though, especially if your other obligations keep you busy. Elderly care providers can help you to schedule these types of activities and gives you someone to go with her to ensure she’s safe.
Excerpt: Wandering might seem mild at first, but it can be terrifying in extreme cases. Here’s what you need to know.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elderly Care in Murphy, OR, please contact the caring staff at Southern Oregon In-Home Care today! Proudly Serving Seniors in Josephine & Jackson Counties, Oregon. Call us today! (541) 236-4247.