Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease presents unique challenges, particularly addressing the tendency for individuals with this condition to wander. This behaviour can pose safety concerns and increase stress for both the person with Alzheimer’s and their loved ones.
Wandering in individuals with Alzheimer’s often results from various factors, including confusion, restlessness, the desire to fulfil past routines, or an attempt to communicate unmet needs. A comprehension of these underlying causes enables Care Professionals to implement targeted interventions to minimise the risk of wandering.
Creating a predictable daily routine helps individuals with Alzheimer’s feel more secure and lessens the likelihood of wandering. Consistent meal times, activities, and sleep schedules provide a sense of familiarity and stability, reducing restlessness and the urge to wander.
Ensure the living environment is secure by implementing measures such as installing locks and alarms on doors and windows. Consider using door chimes or motion sensors to alert Care Professionals when a door is opened. Additionally, placing signs on doors with images or simple cues helps individuals recognise and remember specific rooms.
In case of wandering, having proper identification is crucial. Individuals with Alzheimer’s should always wear an identification bracelet with their name, address, and emergency contact information. This facilitates a faster and safer return if they get lost.
Boredom and restlessness contribute to wandering behaviour. Engage individuals with Alzheimer’s in activities aligned with their interests and abilities, such as puzzles, crafts, or listening to music. These activities provide stimulation and reduce the urge to wander.
Review medications regularly with the healthcare provider, as certain medications may contribute to restlessness or confusion. Adjustments or changes to the medication regimen may be necessary to mitigate wandering tendencies.
Technology can be a valuable tool in preventing wandering. Discreet GPS tracking devices incorporated into clothing or accessories allow Care Professionals to locate individuals if they wander. Mobile apps and home monitoring systems can also provide real-time alerts.
Maintain vigilant supervision of individuals with Alzheimer’s to ensure their safety. Care Professionals may need to take shifts or enlist the help of family members, friends, or other Care Professionals to ensure constant supervision, especially during high-risk periods like evenings or nights.
Preventing wandering in individuals with Alzheimer’s requires a multifaceted approach, combining a structured routine, a secure living environment, meaningful engagement, and the use of technology. Care Professionals should remain adaptable and continuously reassess strategies as the needs of the individual evolve. Implementing these strategies creates a safer and more supportive environment for those living with Alzheimer’s, minimising the risks associated with wandering and enhancing the overall quality of life for both individuals and their Care Professionals.
Get in touch with your local Radfield Home Care office today and find out more about the support we offer and the difference we can make.