Why Do Alzheimer’s Patients Wander?
Alzheimer’s patients often wander because the condition can cause disorientation. Wandering can happen at any stage of dementia. If your loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s they are at risk of getting lost, even if they’ve never wandered in the past, so it’s important to ensure you know of their whereabouts at all times.
There are a few different reasons that may cause an Alzheimer’s patient to wander:
- The stress or fear from an over-stimulating environment or a loud noise they may not understand.
- Trying to search for someone or something.
- Boredom and trying to look for something to do.
- Looking for basic needs like a bathroom, food or just the need to go outdoors.
- Following past routines like going to work, doing chores or buying groceries.
Wandering is necessarily dangerous as long as it occurs in a safe and controlled environment. In other circumstances, wandering can pose safety issues. It is important for caregivers and the loved ones of Alzheimer’s patients to not only prevent unsafe wandering but also identify why the wandering might be happening.
How Can They Be Kept Safe?
If you are concerned about the safety of a loved one who has Alzheimer’s, here are a few things you can do to help keep them safe should they ever wander.
- Reducing hazards and installing night lights to help nighttime wanderers.
- Installing alarms, locks and various devices which can alert you that the patient is on the move.
- Placing removable curtains over doors or camouflaging doors.
- Having the patient wear a GPS device or any other tracking device so that you can receive electronic alerts about his or her location.
Ensuring a Safe Return
It can be difficult to locate wanderers who get lost because they often act unpredictably. This is why it’s important to try to keep track of them at all times. Should you ever lose track of a loved one who has Alzheimer’s and may have wandered off, start by contacting your neighbors to find out if they’ve seen anything and to keep an eye out. You may also need to contact the police if you are unable to locate your loved one.
Get Assistance from the Leading Home Care Providers in Wichita, KS
Having trouble caring for a loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s? Call (316) 691-5050 and talk to one of our staff at Progressive Care. We are one of Kansas’s largest home care providers and offer daily 24-hour living assistance, including nighttime watch and personal assistance.