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How to Address Wandering Caused by Dementia

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Disorientation is a common symptom of dementia. When seniors with dementia lose their sense of direction, they often wander away. Caregivers can prevent dementia-related wandering by taking the following precautions. 

Install Locks

Installing locks should prevent your loved one from casually opening the door and walking down the street when you aren’t looking. Many seniors with dementia feel a compulsion to go home, even if they’re already at home, and this feeling is sometimes exacerbated due to sundowner’s syndrome. If you notice your loved one exhibiting these symptoms, take measures to secure all doors in the home. Placing the locks high up on each door can make them difficult to access. If the issue persists, install motion detectors on the doors, which will send signals whenever a door has been opened. 

Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional in-home dementia care. Bethlehem, PA, families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life.

Invest in Tracking Devices

For seniors who consistently wander, tracking devices can be an effective way to monitor their whereabouts. If your loved one manages to leave the house, tracking devices can make it easier to find him or her. Tracking devices are often in the shape of bracelets or necklaces, and they have an alarm that goes off if your loved one strays outside a designated safe zone. 

Make Sure Basic Needs Are Met

Sometimes, seniors with dementia wander when their basic needs are not being met. The disorientation may be a result of thirst, hunger, fatigue, or a need to use the bathroom. When your loved one wanders, try to look for behavioral patterns. If your loved one always wanders right before lunch, the confusion might be a sign of hunger. Moving the daily lunchtime up by 30 minutes might curtail his or her wandering habit. 

Dementia can impact a senior’s ability to cook, eat, and manage other daily tasks independently. A Bethlehem, PA, caregiver is the perfect option if your elderly loved one wishes to age in place with greater independence. Cooking, bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping are just a few of the important everyday tasks a caregiver can help with.   

Use Identification Tags

In some cases, wandering cannot be prevented. For example, secure door locks can’t prevent a senior from wandering away during a trip to the mall. To maximize safety, make sure your loved one always has easy-to-access identification. An ID carried in a wallet or purse isn’t enough, as your loved one may not carry it when he or she wanders off. Instead, provide Medical ID jewelry that clearly states your loved one’s name, phone number, and address. You can also sew basic identification details into a few oft-worn articles of clothing like jackets and sweaters. 

Encourage Exercise

If the wandering occurs at night, it may be a sign your loved one isn’t getting enough activity during the day. When your loved one gets some exercise, it may cut down on nighttime wandering. Your loved one doesn’t have to follow a high-intensity exercise routine. A walk in the park or around the block may be enough to tire him or her out by nighttime.

Dementia is a serious condition that affects a senior’s health, independence, and overall quality of life. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance,a provider of high-quality home care Bethlehem, PA, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. To create a comprehensive in-home care plan for your aging loved one, call us at 484-350-3874 today.