About three out of every five people who have Alzheimer’s wander, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Since every person is unique, so are the reasons why loved ones and patients with dementia and alzheimer’s wander. Why do dementia patients wander? How you can stop dementia patients from wandering will be discussed, shedding light on a common condition.
Dementia Patients Wander to Satisfy Physical Needs
Most people who are in big hotels or malls tend to wander in search of vending machines, ice machines, and bathrooms. People who have memory impairments are just like most people, searching for something to eat, drink, or the restroom is just part of human nature.
Other reasons wandering in dementia patients is common is to rest unsettled energy, alleviate physical pain, and release anxiety. Try to support dementia patients and your loved ones to satisfy their needs by setting a routine for snacks and drinks, bathroom breaks, baths, and doctor visits. It will help them avoid any wandering urges they may have. Setting structured activities will make dealing with a loved one with dementia easier.
Dementia Patients Wander to Feel Comfort or Safety
People with memory impairments react immediately. If the noise is too much for them, if they feel too hot in a room, or there’s someone nearby who they don’t want to be with, they will leave. So to make things more comfortable for your loved ones, control the noise where they are, make the temperature comfortable, try to avoid big crowds, and make sure that there are no unbearable smells wherever they are.
Their room and the hallway should have adequate lighting, and make sure that they have access to a garden where they can enjoy the outdoors. Since almost everyone gets cabin fever, make it a routine for dementia patients and loved ones to have scheduled walks outside so they get fresh air regularly. This way they won’t have much need to wander about.
If you’re wondering why dementia patients wander, or how to stop dementia patients’ wandering despite your efforts of doing the above mentioned tips, try to add mementos that are comforting for them in their environment. Such possessions that they have collected are tied to specific memories.
Those items make the environment feel like home to your loved ones. If you’re loved ones are about to move to a new place, it would be best to ask them which photos and belongings are most important for them, and which new things they like the most. Add all of those to their new place.
Dementia Patients Wander to Satisfy Emotional Needs
Everybody wants to feel liked, loved, and needed. If your loved ones or dementia patients are looking for a specific person or a particular place, ask them if they could tell you more about that person or place. Ask them to write a note specifying where they are going and the time that they will return.
You can also schedule video calls with their children or grandchild who live in faraway places. To prevent wandering in dementia patients, listen to them without any judgment, respect their boundaries and their insistence on being independent, and use words that will make them feel that you approve of their sentiments. This tip on how to deal with a loved one with dementia will be good for everyone.
If your loved ones have expressed that they want to be needed, help them achieve that by assigning tasks that they’re good at doing. You can even make them responsible for teaching others on how to do their hobbies properly. If they feel that they are needed in their community or by their loved ones, they will start engaging in group activities with their friends because they now have something in common.
Prevent your loved ones and dementia patients from wandering by implementing things that matter to them, especial when dealing with dementia during the holiday season. Personal and family history and what they are passionate about are creative ways to make things more comfortable. This will lead to empowerment and fulfillment for them.
Still having issues with wandering? You can keep track of dementia and alzheimer’s loved ones who wander with GPS tracking devices. These wearables, like watches connect to an app that allows you to stay connected anywhere and anytime. We aim to keep all loved ones and patients that suffer from dementia and alzheimer’s connected with our intuitive solution to those loved ones who wander.