Top Tips to Prevent Alzheimer’s Wandering

Senior with Alzheimer's looking out the front door

Alzheimer’s wandering is a concerning issue that many family caregivers face, but these tips can help keep senior loved ones safe.

Out of all the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps one of the most worrying is the person’s tendency for wandering and the potential dangers that may occur in the event that the senior becomes confused or lost.

Alzheimer’s wandering can happen when the older adult is:

  • Frightened, confused or overwhelmed
  • Trying to find someone or something
  • Bored
  • Attempting to maintain a familiar former routine (such as going to work or shopping)
  • Taking care of a fundamental necessity (such as looking for a glass of water or going to the bathroom)

The aim is twofold; to help keep the senior safe, and to make certain his or her needs are satisfied to try to stop the need to wander in the first place. Consider the following safety measures if your senior loved one is likely to wander:

  • Make sure the home is equipped with a security system and locks that the person cannot master, such as a sliding bolt lock above his or her range of vision. An assortment of alarms can be found, from something as simple as placing a bell over doorknobs, to highly-sensitive pressure mats designed to sound an alarm when stepped upon, to GPS products that can be worn, and more. It is also recommended that you sign up for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return Program.
  • Conceal exits by covering up doors with curtains, setting short-term folding barriers strategically around doorways, or by wallpapering or painting doors to match the surrounding walls. You may also try placing “NO EXIT” signs on doors, which can sometimes deter those in the earlier stages of dementia from trying to exit.
  • An additional risk for folks who wander is the elevated danger of falling. Look over each room of the house and fix any tripping concerns, such as removing throw rugs, electrical cords, and any obstacles that could be blocking walkways, adding extra lighting, and placing gates at the top and bottom of stairways.

It’s important to bear in mind that with guidance and direction, wandering is not necessarily a problem. Go for a walk with each other outside whenever weather allows and the senior is in the mood to be mobile, providing the additional benefit of fresh air, physical exercise, and quality time together.

While Alzheimer’s wandering is often tough to manage, Advanced Home Health Care’s experts in elderly care in Burlington and the surrounding areas have been specially trained to be both vigilant and proactive in deterring wandering and to make use of creative techniques to help older adults with dementia stay relaxed and happy. Reach out to us at 800.791.7785 to learn more!

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