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Alzheimer's

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Why Do People With Alzheimer’s Wander?
By Frena Gray-Davidson

(Page 4 of 5)

The company of others who also have dementia is often very comforting, so look for a good day activity program. How do you know it’s good? See if people are having a good time. Talking like friends. Enjoying the quality of the connection. Dementia is often a lonely condition. The actual activity almost doesn’t matter as long as it clearly connects people by the heart.

The goal of all this is to tire out your family member so that restless dissatisfaction does not speak so loudly to them. Maybe get them a good pet friend, one of those older pets that are so understanding and seldom get adopted..

By the way, don’t forget to secure your doors. You want to know when your person heads for the great outdoors. This doesn’t have to be sophisticated.  The things people I know have used successfully have been:

  1. a set of brass bells hanging on a door-handle;
  2. that cheap set of buzzer and five activators that you can put on doors. Not at all expensive -- I think around $7 and in most budget stores and hardware places;
  3. a warning door chime;
  4. an ankle bracelet that sets off a perimeter alarm.
  5. Or for the cunning escaper, firmly locked doors, deadbolted and you have the key.   

If your person does get out, unnoticed by you, of course you need to go find them. Before you do that, call the police and give a description. Ideally, you would already have lodged a photo with the local police station just in case.

If you have already tagged them with a GPS unit, then your search will be much easier. Check on-line to find great prices on personal GPS systems. It's something you can tag on the back of someone's pants each day, for example. Not in pockets or a handbag or wallet  – which can be lost or stolen.

If you are looking for someone not tagged, know that people with dementia are most likely to simply continue walking in a forward direction. If you have straight highways from your door, I'd follow those first. If you're calling out for them, call by name, not by role. So Frank, not Dad. That's because they may be in a much younger time-zone state of mind where they weren't a Dad.

 

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