Dementia – Who is at risk for Wandering? | BrightStar Downtown Houston

Posted on August 8, 2012


Dementia – Who is at risk for Wandering?

Six in 10 people with Alzheimer’s disease will wander. Many of these people can not remember their name or address and may become disoriented and lost, even in their own neighborhood.

  • Who is at risk of wandering?
  • Anyone with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia who:
  • Returns from a walk or drive later than usual.
  • Tries to fulfill former obligations that are no longer a part of their daily life, such as going to work.
  • Tries to “go home” even when they are at home.
  • Is restless, paces or makes repetitive movements.
  • Has difficulty locating familiar places like the bathroom, bedroom or dining room.
  • Checks the whereabouts of familiar people.
  • Acts as if doing a familiar hobby or chore, but get’s nothing done. (e.g. moves around pots and dirt without planting anything.)
  • Feels lost in a new or changed environment -sometimes this can be a simple change like rearranging furniture.

It is important that steps be taken so that the patient is under supervision at all times.

  • Carry out daily activities.Having a routine can provide structure and we can help you design an appropriate plan for your loved one.
  • Identify the most likely times of day that wandering may occur and plan activities at that time.   Activities and exercise can reduce anxiety, agitation and restlessness.
  • Stay emotionally in-tune with them and reassure the person if he or he feels lost, abandoned or disoriented.
  • If the person with dementia wants to leave to “go home” or “go to work,” use communication focused on exploration and validation.  Remember that correcting a dementia patient does not help the situation as in their world they are right.
  • Ensure all basic needs are met.  Have they gone to the bathroom?  Are they thirsty or hungry?  Avoid busy places like shopping malls, grocery stores and other busy public places that are confusing and can cause disorientation.

Proper home care can be provided to prevent wandering and other dangers to dementia patients.  Call us for more tips and a personal consultation.

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