For most of us, taking a daily stroll through the neighborhood is a pleasant experience that we look forward to at the end of a long day at work, a chance to unwind and clear our minds. We can almost maneuver the familiar route on autopilot. But imagine for a moment how it might feel to suddenly realize after a couple of blocks that you have no idea where you are, how to get home, or even what home looks like. Terrifying!
This scenario is exactly what can happen to those with Alzheimer’s disease who wander away, easily becoming disoriented and overwhelmed. And as a professional Alzheimer’s care company in Phoenix, we at Nightingale Homecare know all too well the tendency of those with dementia to wander if not carefully monitored.
Alzheimer’s wandering can stem from feelings of restlessness, disorientation, anxiety, boredom or stress, and, as with most concerns, prevention is the best medicine. Below are some of the ways we discourage Alzheimer’s wandering before it has a chance to begin:
- Exercise. Regular physical exercise is often overlooked in Alzheimer’s care, but is extremely important to enhance feelings of calmness and relaxation.
- Redirection. Channel restlessness through a productive and enjoyed activity.
- Reassurance. Sometimes it’s helpful to simply reassure the person that everything is ok, particularly if he or she seems disoriented.
- Quieting. Extra noise can contribute to agitation and anxiety. Restlessness may be abated by simply reducing distractions and noise, such as turning off the TV or radio.
- Physician intervention. If you suspect disorientation or restlessness could be the result of a medication side effect or other drug-related concern, check with the doctor immediately.
We also recommend making a full safety assessment of the home, ensuring that windows and doors are secured to prevent the senior from leaving the home unattended and becoming at risk for potential harm. We’ll gladly perform that assessment for you; simply contact us to schedule a visit at your convenience.
Finally, it’s so crucial to have a plan in place in case the unthinkable happens and the senior with Alzheimer’s disease happens to wander away. Ensure that neighbors are aware and alert of the potential for your loved one to wander, purchase an ID bracelet and label clothing with your contact information, and look into GPS tracking devices specifically for those with Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association also offers a Safe Return Program, in which a local community support network will be activated upon a senior’s disappearance, in conjunction with law enforcement agencies.
For ultimate safety and wellbeing, arrange for services from an Alzheimer’s care company in Phoenix, such as Nightingale Homecare. Our Connections dementia care program, featuring care from certified Alzheimer’s Whisperers®, provides families with peace of mind in knowing that skilled, compassionate care and supervision are in place for their loved one. Call us at 602-504-1555 to learn more.