Friday, August 27, 2021

Preventing Wandering for Dementia Patients

Fear of wandering is a big concern for those looking after dementia patients in Care Homes or within their own families. It is a major risk for those living with dementia as, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, it affects 60% of those living with the condition. So, if you administer Dementia Care, what are the best ways to prevent wandering to limit the dangers it presents to older adults? 

Who’s at risk?

As mentioned above, anyone that’s living with Alzheimer’s or dementia is at risk of wandering. Thus, whilst it’s difficult to predict, common signs to look out for in patients or loved ones may include:

  • Forgetting directions to familiar places

  • Returning from outings later than usual

  • Talking about the need to complete old obligations, such as going to work or ‘going home’

  • Restlessness or nervousness, especially in crowded areas

  • Confusion over the whereabouts of people, especially former friends or family

Since it’s a very common issue associated with dementia, individuals may start to wander with little warning and without any of these signs. It’s vital to remember however that it can be extremely dangerous and sometimes life-threatening, so prevention measures are always encouraged.

Ways to limit or prevent wandering

Changes in the home

Due to its unpredictability, the first measures that you should look into involving ways of making it difficult for someone with dementia to get outside the house or care home. In the latter, this is perhaps a bit easier as these facilities are secure and Staff are Usually on Hand Depending on the Type of Care, but in regular homes, you may need to take some other steps.

So, if you’re looking after a loved one with dementia, we’d recommend installing fences, secure door locks, and potentially having cameras fitted or camouflaging entrances to outdoor spaces. Other ideas include fitting locks that are in hard to reach areas or even simply adding bells to outer doors.

Helping the individual

If you can’t physically prevent the wandering, helping the person with dementia so that they are as safe as possible is the next essential step. So, ensure the elderly individual always carries ID with them or has a GPS device and, if you’re administering care, consider dressing loved ones in bright clothes so it’s easy to spot them. Another good measure is to know your neighbours, so you’re less likely to face the issue alone.

Focus on the problem

Lastly, there are ways to try and contain wandering or at least limit its frequency. Whilst these might not work for everyone, focusing on sleeping habits is a good way to start. You should look to try and Prevent Sleeplessness, as this can be done in a few ways. You can make Care Home Bedroom Improvements, for instance, or Increase Physical Activities so your loved one is more tired at the end of the day.

Alternatively, sometimes wandering because of dementia is caused by a recurring issue that can be prevented. For example, if an elderly person usually begins wandering because they’re hungry or thirsty and night, leaving food or drink by their bed could prevent this trigger. So, it’s always worth looking out for simple issues such as this to prevent larger problems from wandering.

Tips for living with Dementia

Whilst Renray is primarily a Dementia Furniture Supplier, we have several articles discussing living with dementia that could offer you advice on helping a loved one. Thus, some of our tips include:

  • Researching Dementia Care

  • Creating Dementia Friendly Spaces

  • Encourage a comfortable but regular routine around the house

  • Interact with the individual and support question-asking

  • Be aware of the Early Signs of Alzheimer’s

  • If it’s early-onset and the person is still working, get them to notify their employer

  • Similar to the above, ensure it is declared to the DVLA if they still drive

  • Keep busy and find new hobbies if old habits become more difficult for the person living with dementia

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