If your loved one wanders out of the home because they suffer from dementia or another memory-related condition, take steps to protect them. Wandering is one of the many problems people with dementia experience as their disease progresses. If you're unable to keep up with your loved one as they wander, it can be dangerous for them and overwhelming for you. Here's how wandering may affect your loved one's safety and how you can address it.
Does Wandering Place Your Loved One in Danger?
Dementia and other memory-related diseases can affect many areas of the brain that control how a person acts or behaves in life. Some people may have problems controlling their tempers, while other people may lose the ability to communicate their needs. Other individuals with memory problems may lose track of where they are and wander.
When people wander, they leave the safety of their homes. Wanderers may leave their property and visit a neighbor's home, or they may keep walking until they become lost. If your loved one tends to do any of the above things often, it's important to safeguard your home to keep them safely confined in it.
If possible, place locks on every door that leads outside the home, even to the patio and backyard. Place the locks out of your loved one's reach. You also want to use locks that require keys to open. Although your loved one has dementia, they may still be able to manipulate regular locking mechanisms.
Also, place brightly colored signs and pictures around the home that direct your loved one to the bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom. Many people with memory loss respond well to cue cards, images, and large print. You want to simplify communication between you and your loved one as much as possible.
If you still can't control your loved one's wandering, look into memory care.
How Can a Memory Facility Help Your Loved One?
Wandering can become dangerous if your loved one falls or suffers from heat or cold exposure. Dehydration is another issue wanderers face when they become lost. If your loved one takes medication for dementia or any other health problem, they can become sick if they don't receive their medications on time. A memory care facility can help overcome these issues by offering your loved one a secure place to wander.
Memory care facilities generally provide secured units for people with dementia. The units typically feature activity rooms, dining rooms, and personal rooms. Facilities also have multiple staff members on hand to monitor and care for their residents. Because of these security measures in place, your loved one can wander in safety.
You can also visit your loved one during their stay. A facility may welcome any input you might have about your elderly loved one's care. For instance, if your elderly parent loves music, you can tell the facility about it. Music may help your loved one stay calm in their new surroundings. If possible, bring in family pictures and other mementos for your loved one to look at in the morning or at night. You want elderly parent to feel at home in their new place of residence.
It's important to understand that you're not abandoning your loved one by placing them in a memory care facility. Your choice not only keeps your loved one safe, it keeps you healthy as well. Many caregivers become stressed when they face overwhelming circumstances. The stress can carry over to your loved one, which may cause problems with their health and wellbeing.
For more tips on protecting your loved one from wandering, check out sites like http://graceseniorcommunity.com/ and contact a memory care or assisted living facility.