WHY PEOPLE WANDER?
Task Oriented: Most people always have something to do. Even if they don't, they create something to keep their hands and brain busy. People with dementia relive their former lives and leave their home believing they are going to a job or shopping.
Pain, discomfort and agitation: Emotions can be reason to wander. They are not happy in their present situation so if they move to another location maybe those symptoms will not come with them. But in actuality, they are wandering.
Loss of Memory: When people become disoriented due to their present thoughts disappearing, their reality being blurred or seeking places that were once familiar to them, they wander looking to go back to those comforting and safe places. They are searching for their past.
Disorientation: They may wake up at 5 in the morning and not know if it is day going into night or night going into day. They will leave their surroundings to seek the answer.
The following caregiver tips can provide help for those who WANDER...
1. Make time for regular exercise and activities that exercise the mind & body. Moving the body, walking and mental activities will help to minimize restlessness. MindCare offers a broad selection of activities for senior and for those with all stages and types of dementia. Find dementia activities HERE
2. Consider installing new keyed locks. Locks should be positioned high or low on the door as those with dementia tend not to look beyond eye level. Keep fire and safety concerns in mind for all family members. Locks must be accessible to others and not take more than a few seconds to open. Be sure to teach children how to operate any wandering prevention locks installed throughout the home. Shop for our door locks for dementia HERE
3. Use a barrier like a curtain or sign to mask door to dangerous areas or to the outside. Our “stop” sign or “do not enter” signs have been found to be the most effective. Find our wandering prevention signs HERE
4. Consider installing a home monitoring / security system designed to keep watch over someone with dementia. MindCare offers door alarms that help keep exit doors monitored. Find our door alarms HERE
5. Conceal essential, personal items such as person’s coat, purse or glasses. Some of those with dementia will not go outside without certain belongings. GPS tracking watches with locking wristbands can also be worn. A tracking watch using global positioning systems (GPS) or cellular technology to track a person’s whereabouts if a wandering event occurs has been proven time and time again. Find our selection of Wandering Prevention GPS Watches HERE
6. Wearing an ID bracelet and sewing ID labels in the clothes of dementia patients can also help. Have a current photo available should a missing person's report need to be made. Consider leaving a copy on file at the police department or register the person with the Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return program or other emergency tracking service.
7. Tell neighbors about any wandering behavior and make sure they have your phone number... just in case.
Some, but not all, people with dementia are prone to losing track of where they are. Overall, only 1% of patients are injured while wandering, but chances of injury rise dramatically the longer they remain missing.
"1/2 of all people with dementia who are missing for more than 24 hours die or are seriously injured," - Dr. Rupert McShane of Oxford University, who was referencing one of his own studies. McShane argued in favor of using tracking devices such as GPS watched for wandering patients!
Dr. McShane explains that 40% of dementia patients get lost at some point, but the real danger is with those who repeatedly wander away from their families, private caretakers, or nursing homes. This repetitive behavior happens in 5% of patients. It can strain family ties and lead to resentment between caretakers and dementia sufferers.
Regardless of your patient's or family member's progression or need, whether at home or in a facility, MindCare Store has what you need to keep your mind at ease and the patient you care for...safe!