More than half of dementia sufferers will wander at some time or another. As a caregiver, this likely causes you a significant amount of anxiety. However, there is much you can do to keep your loved one safe. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Prevention starts with a secure home. If possible, install new locks on doors and windows. Deadbolt locks installed high or low on doors are less noticeable. Also consider using motion detectors or alarms to alert you when windows or doors are opened.
- If your loved one has already wandered a few times, compare the occasions to look for a pattern so you can determine the cause of the issue.
- Remember that lack of physical activity or boredom can be a problem. So, if possible, be sure the sufferer has a few things to do during the day consistent with their abilities.
- Keep a regular routine. Your loved one might be leaving the house to 'go to work'. If they have consistent, daily tasks to do at home, they might not feel the need to leave to fulfill their responsibilities.
- Be proactive in making sure their daily needs are met. This will prevent them from taking it upon themselves to go out to find food or drink, or use the bathroom.
Unfortunately, your loved one may leave the home unnoticed, despite your best efforts. Therefore, be sure neighbors know to alert you if they see the sufferer outside alone. Check the most likely places first. And, if you need to contact the police, before you have a recent picture and you know what they were wearing.
As you are learning to deal with the changes that aging can bring, be patient with yourself, patient with your loved one, seek advice and answers to questions, and remember you are not in this alone. Contact a Caring Senior Service team member today!