How to prevent wandering and our tips
Accidentally wandering away or getting lost is a serious issue for those who have dementia or Alzheimer’s and can be a big worry for family members and carers. It may seem unbelievable that elderly people who are weak and slow-moving could ger very far, but it can happen without anyone noticing!
Wandering can happen at any point, it does not matter if they have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s for years or if they have been recently diagnosed and never wandered before. Anything could happen to individuals who wander due to dementia or Alzheimer’s and this could result in injuries or even death due to exposure.
This is why it is very important to keep your loved one, or patients safe and try to prevent them from wandering.
Below are some ways to prevent wandering due to dementia and Alzheimer’s:
Have them wear a GPS device
You may feel more secure knowing that if your loved one/client with dementia goes missing they are only a quick phone check away. Wearable GPS devices like wristbands send out signals to smartphones or other devices so they can easily be located as soon as they are noticed missing.
If they refuse to wear a visible tracker that they can see, you can consider purchasing shoes that contain a GPS tracker in the insole.
Install window and door locks and alarms
Installing locks and alarms on all of the windows and doors in their home or their room is essential when preventing your loved one/client with dementia or Alzheimer’s from wandering.
Installing door locks above their line of sight is a good way to keep the doors locked without them noticing. You could try this on sliding doors and regular doors.
Installing door alarms and window alarms allows you to be alerted if they are opened so you can respond quickly.
If front door keys and car keys are available to a dementia patient or loved one, they may be able to drive off even when you turn your back for a short moment.
To prevent this from happening, make sure that all door keys and car keys are hidden well so they will not be able to walk out the door without searching.
Consider adding a steering wheel lock to any cars that you have access to so if they get as far as unlocking the car, they will not be able to drive it.
Another way to prevent your client or loved one is to camouflage any doors that lead to the outside, so they are out of mind. More often than not, those with dementia or Alzheimer’s will find it more difficult to find the door if it is hidden with a sign or covered with a curtain so it is still accessible to you.
Make sure you don’t let the individual see you open these doors or curtains because then they may recognise what it actually is. You could also place a large black doormat in front of the door to make them hesitant to stand on it. Often dark flooring can be mistaken for holes so it will discourage them from reaching the door.
The last thing you can do is be prepared. Try to be vigilant and make sure you take notes of what your loved one/client is wearing in the day and for bed so if they do go missing, you can quickly describe them.
Be sure to alert the surrounding neighbours of the individual’s behaviour and give them tips on how to slow them down. Also, give out your number so they can easily contact you if they need to.
Consider adding labels with contact information to their clothes and nightwear so if somebody does find them or their clothes, they can contact you.