Dementia Wandering Prevention Tips
Is Wandering Preventable?
Some dementia wandering can be prevented to certain extents, especially if you understand the motivation for the behaviour. Providing proactive solutions in conjunction with a dementia device such as the Proximity Button can go a long way to making your cared one much safer. Common causes for wandering can include the following;
Searching for a previous Home
Wandering in someone living with dementia is sometimes caused by a desire to find their once familiar home. A persons “home” if suffering from dementia may not be their current home, but a place they have previous lived, a childhood home, or simply something that looks and feels familiar.
Agitated or Restless
Allow the person opportunity to exercise. If the person you are caring for has had a long walk or exercise, it’s less likely that they will want go for, or need another walk in the near future. Keeping dementia/Alzheimer’s sufferers active has multiple benefits beyond wandering.
Looking for a Bathroom
If you think your loved one may not be able to find the bathroom or is spending time searching, attaching a large picture of a toilet on the bathroom door can sometimes assist with this. You might also simply try to assist them to the direction of the bathroom to see if this is why they’re walking around.
If you think hunger may be the cause of wandering, try providing light, healthy snacks more often to make sure their hunger is fed and monitor to see if this reduces wandering.
Wanting to Go to the place they used to Work
For some people suffering with dementia, the once routine task of going to work every day may be deeply ingrained in them. This type of person may benefit from an elevated level of structure within their day, such as meal times being very specific, daily tasks or an activity program. Understanding what their ingrained routine is and developing a new routine around this may be assistive.
Hallucinations or Paranoia
If the wandering happens when the person with Dementia/Alzheimer’s is distressed and seeing or hearing things that are not there, they may be undergoing some psychosis. Psychosis such as hallucinations or paranoia is when an individual is out of touch with reality. The persons doctor should be notified of these behaviours as this could be a time where antipsychotic medications may be appropriate.
Boredom and Loneliness
Sometimes, boredom and loneliness can trigger wandering. Offering engaging in activities can improve quality of life and may decrease restlessness and wandering.
Other Wandering Prevention Tips
Mirrors on Doors
Install a full-length mirror on doors you do not want the person to go through. The appearance of another person in a doorway often stops someone with Alzheimer’s from going through the door.
Locks on Doors
Install a deadbolt lock on the exterior doors. You may want to install them a higher or lower level than you usually would so that it is not near eye level where they can see straight away. You will however want a means of getting out in case of an emergency.
Stop Signs on Doors or Areas
Install stop signs on doors you don’t want the dementia sufferer to go through. A standard response to a stop sign is so ingrained in us that it often continues to evoke that same response in those suffering with dementia.
For those that want to have a high level of dementia wandering prevention – look no further than Proximity Button