Wandering and Alzheimer’s: Why It Happens and How to Help

dementia care experts

Wandering is a common side effect of Alzheimer’s disease.

Of the many effects of Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps one of the most concerning is the individual’s tendency for wandering as well as the potential dangers that may occur if the senior becomes disoriented or lost. Wandering can take place when the older adult is:

  • Scared, confused or overwhelmed
  • Trying to find someone or something
  • Bored
  • Seeking to keep a familiar past routine (such as going to a job or shopping)
  • Taking care of a basic necessity (such as getting a drink of water or going to the bathroom)

The objective is twofold; to help keep the senior safe, and to make certain his / her needs are fulfilled to attempt to prevent the need to wander to begin with. Try the following safety measures in case your senior loved one is likely to wander:

  • Be certain that the residence is equipped with a security system and locks that the senior is unable to master, such as a sliding bolt lock above his or her range of vision. An assortment of alarms can be bought, from something as simple as placing a bell over door knobs, to highly-sensitive pressure mats that will sound an alarm when stepped upon, to GPS devices which can be worn, and more. It’s also a great idea to register for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return Program.
  • Conceal exits by covering up doors with curtains, setting temporary folding barriers strategically around doorways, or by wallpapering or painting doors to match the surrounding walls. You could also try placing “NO EXIT” signs on doors, which can sometimes dissuade people in the earlier stages of dementia from trying to exit.
  • Another danger for individuals who wander is the additional risk of falling. Look over each room of the house and address any tripping concerns, such as removing throw rugs, extension cords, and any obstacles that may be obstructing walkways, adding extra lighting, and placing gates at the top and bottom of stairways.

It is important to keep in mind that with supervision and direction, wandering is not necessarily an issue. Go for a walk together outside anytime weather permits and the senior is in the mood to be mobile, providing the extra advantage of fresh air, physical exercise, and quality time together.

While often tricky to manage, the dementia care team at Generations at Home has been specially trained to be equally watchful and proactive in deterring wandering and to utilize creative strategies to help seniors with dementia stay calm and happy. Email or call us at 727-940-3414 for more information!

 

St. Petersburg Home Care Tip: Rethink How We Look at Aging

Senior couple having fun riding motor scooter.
Older adults are able to enjoy and pursue new interests and activities, which can lead to a revived happiness for life.

A Google search for the term “aging” produces topics such as “coping with aging,” “what you can do about aging,” and even “the cure to aging.” The unfavorable connotations to getting old are, unfortunately, so embedded within our society that it is expected that by 2021, we’ll be purchasing over $300 billion in anti-aging products.

Even though it’s not hard to get caught up within the difficulties that could be realized in getting older – health problems, the passing of family and friends, and cognitive issues – what’s getting lost in the shuffle are the incredible benefits of aging. Consider, for example:

  • A recent study by Stony Brook University found that the elderly are happier generally, with reportedly diminishing feelings of anger and anxiety in later years.
  • Socialization and conflict resolution skills are superior in old age, in accordance with research carried out by the University of Michigan.
  • In a game targeted to induce and analyze regret, seniors out performed their younger counterparts with their capability to handle emotions.
  • And according to Cornell sociologist Karl Pillemer who questioned 1,200 elderly people, the opinion was that the last 5 or 10 years were in fact the happiest of their lives. “Many people said something along these lines: ‘I wish I’d learned to enjoy life on a daily basis and enjoy the moment when I was in my 30s instead of my 60s,’” Pillemer shares.

Not only that, but retired adults are able to enjoy and pursue interests and skills minus the time limitations of younger, employed adults, which can lead to a revived happiness for life, new social ties, and improved bonds with existing family and friends.

Generations at Home helps emphasize the benefits of aging in lots of ways. Rather than simply coming in and executing tasks that a loved one can no longer manage, we identify the person’s individual skills, empowering him or her to follow new pursuits with the support of a helpful caregiver.

Whether it’s studying a brand new skill or language, taking a visit to a long-desired destination, deciding to get physically healthier, or whatever a senior’s goal, we’re available to offer inspiration, transportation and accompaniment, and a number of other services to help seniors thrive and live life to the fullest. Help your senior loved one imagine and achieve brand new dreams! Get in touch with the St. Petersburg home care professionals at Generations at Home by contacting us online or calling us at 727-940-3414 and asking about an in-home consultation to find out more.

Tips for Aging for Seniors Without Children

Senior woman with laptop

This strong and self-reliant genre faces a number of unique issues in aging.

Are you a “solo ager“? This is the new term being passed around to describe baby boomers who do not have children. This strong and self-reliant genre faces a number of unique issues in aging, chiefly who to designate as guardian and decision-maker in case they become unable to do so themselves. In her book, Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers, author Sara Zeff Geber, Ph.D. outlines several options to consider: Read more