Millions of people around the world suffer from dementia, a complex condition. Wandering is one of the many difficulties it presents, and it frequently causes worry and anxiety in both caregivers and families. In this blog, we will aim to educate readers about dementia-related wandering, investigate its underlying causes, and offer helpful advice on keeping our loved ones safe while preserving their sense of independence and dignity.
Alzheimer’s or dementia-related wandering is when people move aimlessly or become disoriented. Confusion, agitation, and an unfulfilled desire for purposeful activity are just a few triggers that can cause it. We can more fully understand the causes of wandering behavior and respond to it with empathy if we look at dementia patients’ perspectives. Dementia patients who wander run significant risks. The repercussions can be severe from incidents such as slips and falls, accidents, or exposure to dangerous weather. In order to protect our loved ones both at home and in public spaces, it is crucial to remember the importance of awareness and vigilance in safeguarding our loved ones, both at home and in community settings.
Why do Seniors with Dementia Wander?
It’s critical to recognize that wandering behavior varies among people with dementia, and different underlying factors may play a role. Caregivers can create effective strategies to meet their patient’s needs and improve their safety by identifying those triggers and patterns unique to that patient.
Confusion and Disorientation
Memory, reasoning, and spatial orientation are among the cognitive functions that are impacted by dementia. People suffering from dementia may experience disorientation and lose track of their surroundings, which can cause them to wander off while looking for people or places they are familiar with.
Unmet physical or emotional needs can lead to wandering. The person with dementia might wander in search of food, water, bathroom, or human contact. They might be unable to express their needs clearly, which could cause them to wander in an effort to get what they want.
Restlessness and Agitation
A person with dementia may become anxious, agitated, or restless, which makes them feel uneasy or uncomfortable. They might be able to express these emotions or extra energy by wandering.
Following Past Routines
Wandering can be brought on by a desire to continue old routines or habits. For instance, even if they are unemployed, someone who used to walk every day might still wander as they attempt to maintain their routine.
Individuals with dementia may become overwhelmed by environmental factors including noise, bright lights, and crowded areas. It’s possible that they’ll stray in an effort to find a quieter or more comfortable setting.
A condition known as “sundowning” occurs when some people with dementia become more agitated, confused, and prone to wandering during the late afternoon or evening. This behavior may also be influenced by changes in the lighting, fatigue, or irregular sleep patterns.
Keeping People with Dementia Safe when Wandering
Secure the Living Environment
By eliminating potential dangers and reducing the chance of wandering, you can make your home a more secure and dementia-friendly environment. Install locks or alarms on windows or doors to make sure they cannot be opened or accessed easily. Take into consideration using door sensors or motion detectors to notify caregivers when someone tries to leave.
Establish a Routine
To provide structure and lessen restlessness, maintain a consistent daily routine. Regular meal times, activities, and sleep schedules can help to lessen confusion and anxiety, which reduces the likelihood of wandering.
Utilize Identification and Communication
Ensure that the dementia sufferer always carries identification bearing their name, address, and phone number. An ID bracelet or card kept in their wallet can serve this. Make sure that they also have a phone or a wearable gadget that enables communication with caregivers or emergency contacts.
Supervision and Monitoring
Decide who will be the person with dementia’s responsible caregiver or family member. If keeping an eye on them all the time is difficult, think about using video or audio monitoring systems that let you keep an eye on their whereabouts and make sure they are okay.
Engage in Meaningful Activities
Keep the person engaged with meaningful pursuits that are tailored to their passions and skills. Restlessness and the desire to wander can be lessened by participating in stimulating and enjoyable activities.
We must always remember that each person with dementia is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. These tactics must be specifically tailored to the needs and circumstances of the person with dementia while putting their safety, well-being, and dignity first.
In Need of Assistance?
Unified Pledge Home Health provides a FREE consultation. Talk to them about your situation and explore your options.
A reputable home health agency will perform a complementary in-home care assessment done by a registered nurse. In doing so, they can create a personalized health care plan. Additionally, they also provide a high level of service for skilled medical care based on the physician's order.
Hiring professionals from Unified Pledge comes with the following advantages:
Level II FBI background checks of all staff
Driving history checks
Constant communication to patients, family, and care team
Registered Nurse supervision is ongoing with every care plan
Contact us today for a FREE consultation by a Supervisory Nurse at 561-910-8770.