It’s the reality of dementia that families fervently hope wouldn’t happen to their loved one: wandering. However, according to statistics, six in 10 people with the disease would wander. As the health problem progresses and the brain goes further into decline, patients become more disoriented about time and places, increasing chances of traveling aimlessly and getting lost. There are lots of concerns involved here, putting not just the loved one’s health at risk but also his safety. That said, prevent your loved ones from wandering with these tips:
1. Reassure them always.
Oftentimes, people at risk of wandering would always say that they need to go to work or go back home. According to health experts in Ogden, this happens because they’re seeking security, as they’re unable to recognize familiar places. It can also be due to the busy environment, which exacerbates confusion and disorientation. Thus, you have to reassure your loved ones that they’re safe with you. Avoid correcting them, and instead tell them that you’re there to keep them from harm. Reduce the confusion and the sense of insecurity by getting rid of distracting elements at your home, like noises or clutter. Beyond the emotional needs, make sure to meet their physical needs as well. They might be hungry or thirsty, or they would want to pee, which is why they “want to go home.” Address these concerns to reduce the chances of wandering.
2. Ask for help.
The constant need to give assurance and meet needs can become toxic for a caregiver. As the wandering tendencies become more pronounced and other symptoms of the disease grow more evident, caregivers are bound to experience intense stress. Moreover, you can’t always keep an eye on your ill loved ones. That’s why caregiving shouldn’t be the responsibility of one person alone. Involve family members. Get the help of experts. Consider respite care. If the disease has grown worse, it may be time for nursing care. Many communities have round-the-clock health experts monitoring residents, as well as 24/7 security services you can count on.
3. Stick to normal routine activities.
If they don’t have yet, then it’s time to create one. A routine offers a structure for patients, to which they find reassurance. This is the reason most families choose nursing homes for their loved ones. Such communities provide a daily plan for patients. Exercising during the day, for instance, is effective in reducing the chances of wandering at night. If you’re planning to introduce a workout routine to your loved ones, though, consult their doctor first which activities are appropriate for their health. For other activities, consider the patients’ likes, dislikes, strengths, and past hobbies. Keep in mind the times of the day your loved one is more energized so that you can structure plans around that.
There’s nothing more terrifying than realizing that your loved ones have gotten lost out of your care. Even though the statistics assert that it would happen, there are many ways to prevent it. Keep your loved ones from wandering. Keep them in your care with the tips mentioned above.