Wandering Poses Unique Risks for Persons Living with Alzheimer's and Dementia

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Arden Courts Memory Care Communities Offer Tips to Keep Loved Ones Safe

Wandering is a challenging behavior of those suffering with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. According to the Alzheimer's Association, 60 percent of those with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia will wander. As cold weather begins to descends upon much of the country, the dangers of wandering become even more apparent. Arden Courts Memory Care Community is offering tips on how to reduce the chance a loved one may wander.

Tips to Help Reduce Wandering

  • Secure the home of someone living with Alzheimer’s or related dementia. Install locks out of eye level view on doors and windows. Use motion detectors to alert when a door is opened.
  • Place a full-length mirror or stop sign on doors that you do not want opened. The image of another person can often stop someone with dementia. Stop signs have been so imbedded in our memories that they can often still invoke the intended response.
  • Use signs with pictures on doors to help someone with Alzheimer’s or related dementia find the bathroom or bedroom. These signs will aid in correctly identify where the doors lead, reducing the chance of accidentally leaving the house.
  • Have a fence installed with secured gates. Weather permitting, this will allow your loved one to safely get some fresh air and enjoy the outdoors.
  • Get in the habit of taking walks together in the evening. Assuring your loved one with Alzheimer’s or related dementia is getting enough physical activity can help reduce their anxiety and restlessness.
  • Often those with Alzheimer’s and related dementia wander because they are looking for something, such as food or water. Keep easy to eat snacks and water on hand and within view.
  • Avoid noisy and busy places, such as the mall, that can cause anxiety for someone with Alzheimer’s or related dementia. Often they will try to walk to somewhere that is quieter and has less stimulation that can cause agitation.
  • Have a plan of action if your loved one does wander off. Use a permanent marker or sew identification into their clothes with your contact information. Keep a recent photo and medical information on hand to share with police and other authorities who will be helping in the search. There are programs that can help you track your loved one with GPS. This often require a monthly subscription fee.

Arden Courts offers complimentary brochures and resources regarding wandering and dementia. The hazards of Wandering are detailed as well as what to do in case of emergency and coping measures for family and friends. For a free copy call (888) 478-2410.

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Kelly Kessler
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