Orange County Senior Care Information: Wandering is More Common Among Dementia Patients

February 10, 2017

One important aspect of senior care is understanding why some things occur with certain patients. Wandering is associated with dementia patients who cannot express their needs or communicate their desires appropriately. While most people seem to think the person is wandering aimlessly, there is often a reason for it. Many wander because they have too much energy. Dementia patients need exercise and activity on a daily basis to prevent wandering. Sometimes the person may try to go somewhere like a store, a job or church and then forget where they wanted to go. Often when placed in a new environment like an assisted living facility or a day care, they may leave in search of something familiar.

Long-term memories are maintained more often in dementia patients while short-term things are forgotten. This is why they often go searching for a parent or sibling who may no longer be living. Sometimes pain may result in wandering. They may be hot, hungry or thirsty and cannot communicate this need. Boredom, fear and agitation can also be triggers. Curiosity can also be another indicator. The person may follow an interesting sight, sound or situation. They may even search for a familiar home that represents comfort to them.

It is important to provide a safe environment and routine to maximize the person’s safety. A Alzheimer’s medicalert bracelets will provide an important tool to identify dementia patients if they do wander. Another idea is to try to find patterns at certain times of the day that may cause agitation like going to work in the morning or some repetitive activity that occurs daily. Additionally, it is a good idea to camouflage doors, put scenic pictures on exits and remove coats and shoes from the area. Door alarms, chimes on doors and room monitors can help to alert you if the person tries to leave. Lastly, low sliding locks and doorknob covers can also be useful as long as someone is around to help if there is an emergency.
Call Acorn if you are looking for compassionate in home care givers.
We serve Durham, Hillsborough, Chapel Hill and surrounding areas.

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