Wandering Prevention

February 27, 2013

In my research about wandering I came across many great tips that I would like to share.
A person suffering from dementia may get lost during any stage of the disease because they become confused for a period of time.
Here are a few warning signs:  returning home later than usual, trying to go to work that is no longer there, doing repetitive movements, being disoriented in familiar places, asking where people are, moving as if performing a chore but not actually doing that, and appearing lost.
Enough all ready about the signs what can be done?
-Try providing a routine, finding the time of day that when the person is most confused and planning an activity that fulfills his/her need to have purpose.  Perhaps the person would enjoy a little exercise or chore such as walking the dog.
-The experts say do not correct the person when s/he makes a request to go home when already home, but affirm, instead, that s/he is safe and will be okay for the night.  Suggest enjoying where they are.
-Always make sure basic needs are being met, such as eating and using the restroom.
-It is best to stay away from places that are unfamiliar and overwhelming, which can cause confusion.
-Place the door lock out of reach.  We use a door lock in which a numeric code has to be entered to exit.
-Paint the front door the same color as the wall to camouflage it.  Childproof locks also work.  I like the suggestion of placing a dark mat in front of the door to make it appear as if there is a hole in the ground so as to keep said person from approaching.
-Never ever leave a person with dementia home alone.
-Hide the car keys.
-If the person gets up frequently at night to relieve himself or herself, make sure night-lights are installed in the home.  Also, restrict the intake of fluids before bed and have the individual use the restroom before turning in.
-If the person wanders, the police may be notified within fifteen minutes.  Be sure to say a “vulnerable adult” is missing.
I spend a lot of time observing my son, to try to figure out what is going on in his mind.  He is super fast to take off.  Now some times I can recognize a very subtle energy change in him before he tries to split.  So I position myself between him and the exit whenever these situations come up.
Best of luck to you in discovering these patterns.

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