CAREGIVERS ARTICLE - Understand what causes wandering and how to reduce a person's need to wander. (HealthDay News) -- Wandering is a common but dangerous symptom of Alzheimer's disease - a degenerative disease of the brain that affects memory and cognition. Alzheimer's patients may suddenly walk off and become lost, frightened and confused about where they are, and many do not even know where they are trying to go. Since many of these people can't identify themselves or where they live, wandering in unconfined and unsecured areas can be very dangerous. Disorientation, medication, stress, fear or anxiety, and restlessness may all cause an Alzheimer's patient to wander.
To keep patients safe and minimize wandering, the Alzheimer's Association of Los Angeles offers these suggestions: •Make sure the patient is always comfortable and doesn't need to use the restroom and isn't hungry or thirsty. •Try to make sure he receives regular exercise and activity to reduce restlessness and boredom. If he is still capable, let the patient help with daily chores like laundry or light cooking or housekeeping. •Tell the person often that you are there to help him, and make sure he understands he doesn't need to be anywhere but right where he is. •Keep the environment quiet and relaxing -- avoid noise and confusion that may frighten the patient into trying to scamper away. •If possible, keep doors locked and secured to prevent wandering into the street and getting lost. •Devise a plan of action in the event the patient does become lost -- keep current information on hand, like height and weight, and a recent photograph. Also, keep a list of places where the person has wandered previously, or places he used to frequent that he may be trying to find.
If you have a loved one with Alzheimer's than you have experienced the wondering stage. It is frightening for both the Alzheimer's patient and for the caregiver. I remember when my father in law walked away from the house one day and my husband was following him in the car. He walks slow so Jimmy decided to drive around the block and catch back up with him. But to his surprise when he came back to the same spot my father in law was missing. I was just getting back into town, and you can only imagine how scared I was when my husband said Dad is gone. If it wasn't for a kind soul who found dad in a ditch covered in mud, we would have never found him. There are bracelet's to put on your loved ones with their name, address and allergies written on them. Yes, allergies are important. What if something happened to them, and they ended up in the emergency room and you were not notified yet. It could be life threatening if the doctors gave a medication that your loved one was allergic to.
Just a thought. Hope this helps.
Alzheimer's A Caretakers Journal
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