As a caregiver, you can spot trends in your patient and learn techniques for diverting focus from undesirable behavior. Even while it might not always be able to stop dementia-related actions, with a little effort and knowledge of what to do, you can reroute the situation so it doesn’t spiral out of control.
Families and caregivers of patients with dementia may, at some point, face the challenge of what to do if the person starts to wander. People with dementia frequently wander, which may be distressing for those worried about their safety and well-being. In this blog, we will discuss signs a patient is at risk of wandering, tips on how to deal with and deflect roaming as well as how to plan in advance:
Common signs a patient is at risk of wandering
Everyone with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia is susceptible to wandering. Common warning indicators that someone may be on the verge of straying are:
- Being later than usual when returning from a routine drive or walk.
- Forgetting how to reach familiar locations
- Mentioning completing prior commitments, such as reporting to work
- Even when at home, trying or desiring to “go home”.
- Becoming agitated, pacing, or doing routine actions.
- Seeking out the whereabouts of former acquaintances and relatives.
- Pretending to be engaged in a task but doing nothing.
- Showing signs of being lost in new or modified surroundings.
- A feeling of unease or anxiety in crowded places, such as marketplaces or dining establishments.
Tips on how to deal with and deflect roaming
The following advice can ease caregivers providing nursing care at home and family members’ minds by lowering the chance of wandering:
Speak with the physician: A physical examination can assist in determining whether pain or discomfort caused the wandering. With the doctor, go over the adverse effects of the medication. Avoid using medicines that could confuse them, make them tired, or even incontinent.
Make sure the person can be identified: In case they get lost, it is crucial to ensure they have some form of identification. An identity bracelet with their name, address, and phone number can be beneficial when a person is lost or found. Wearing a medical alert bracelet with a phone number is an additional choice. Similarly, it might be helpful to sew a nametag into each item of clothing the person frequently wears. A person’s photo and profile can be electronically recorded and easily accessed in some places as part of services that can warn authorities should the person go missing.
Determine whether there is a pattern to their wandering behavior: Some people may find it useful to keep a journal or log their activities. It might happen at specific times of the day or in reaction to particular circumstances, which allows for more precise control.
Remove primary triggers: Make an effort to minimize the number of items in the person’s line of sight that can serve as a reminder to wander. Some things like handbags, coats, letters for mailing, and work attire may prompt a person with dementia to roam.
Include your neighbors and the proprietors of nearby businesses: It is advisable to inform your neighbors and the proprietors of nearby businesses about the issue. Once they comprehend the case, most individuals are very helpful and may volunteer to keep a kindly check on the person.
Make it harder for them to roam: Sometimes, it suffices to move door locks to places they won’t think to seek them. If not, consider installing buzzers and bells that ring when you open exterior doors. Give the person chances to participate in structured, worthwhile activities throughout the day. Create a secure portion of the garden, so they have a safe area to walk around.
Plan in advance.
Caregivers who provide in-home nursing care and families go through a lot of stress when a person with dementia wanders off and becomes lost. Prepare a strategy in advance, so you know what to do in case of emergency:
- Consider registering the dementia patient with a wandering assistance program.
- Keep a current close-up photo of the subject available to show the police in an emergency.
- Know the area where the person lives. Locate potentially hazardous sites close to the house, such as waterways, open stairwells, dense vegetation, tunnels, bus stations, and busy roadways.
- Make a list of potential destinations for the wanderer, such as old workplaces, residences, places of worship, or a favorite eatery.
When the person wanders, act immediately. The following tips may help:
- Start your search right away. When observing, consider whether the person is right- or left-handed because wandering tends to go in the same general direction as the dominant hand.
- Start by looking in the area; 1.5 miles from where they disappeared is where you will likely find them.
- Check nearby landscapes like ponds, tree lines, or fence lines; briars or bushes could hide people.
- Search any regions the person has previously wandered to, if applicable.
- Call 911 to report a missing individual if you do not locate them within 15 minutes. Explain the person’s dementia to the authorities.
Here are some tips for when the patient returns:
- Inform the police right away.
- Do not chastise or display anxiety, no matter how worried or inconvenienced you have been. It’s possible that they were scared and perplexed themselves.
- As soon as you can, give assurance and resume your regular schedule.
Anyone who cares for a loved one with dementia knows how difficult it may be. The duties occasionally seem too much to bear, but assistance is available. Seniors may experience several age-related difficulties. Even if some families opt to give care, there may come a moment when they require the services of a dependable homecare company for nursing care at home in Santa Rosa.
Trust the experts at Sequoia Senior Solutions’ in-home care for elders in North Bay with the care of your loved one. To learn more about the superior quality of our in-home nursing care in Santa Rosa services, contact one of our committed Care Managers right away.