Protect Your Alzheimer’s Loved One from Wandering: 5 Tips to Keep Them Safe–and Home

April 4, 2010 at 2:32 am Leave a comment

My mom was determined to call a taxi and “go home.”  Problem was, we moved 2 states away! She had Alzheimer’s and I couldn’t convince her that this was her new home. Every time I turned around, she was trying to “escape.” I called my little Houdini. Once, I found her in the bushes outside the front of our house. That scared me.  She was quick and stubborn–and it was time to get my act together. Every day, hundreds of elders wander off–many due to Alzheimer’s or dementia. The sad fact is that some don’t make it back.

Every family caregiver with a “wanderer” knows what a challenge this can be. It’s like having a toddler (or a teenager) you can’t turn your back on. You panic and think of every awful, terrible scenario the second you can’t find them.

5 Tips to Keep Our Elders Safe from Wandering:

  • “Elder Proof” your house just as you would for a toddler. Move dangerous chemicals and medication out of reach, make sure your bath water isn’t too hot, and taking extra caution when you’re cooking. Be sure to declutter stairs (or even consider a gate if you’re concerned). Even consider keeping your keys put away and take precaution if you have a pool or live near a body of water.
  • Get an alarm system on your house and doors. It’ll beep any time there’s activity–because wandering happens all hours of the day and night–even when you are home. Also get dead bolt lock (great for doors you don’t use all the time) and keep the key on your keychain–hooked to your person or put up safe.
  • Get your loved one an ID bracelet or other forms of identification. Be sure to have a photo of how they look now.
  • Check to see if your state has the Silver Alert system. It broadcasts a missing elder to the news and on the highways.
  • Be friendly with your neighbors and ask them to help “keep an eye” out–nothing is more helpful than being surrounded with people who care. If you need to go off, ask a neighbor, church volunteer, or community volunteer to come and sit with your loved one. If they’ve wandered once–they’ll do it again.

These simple tips can keep your loved one safe–because in the end, gadgets don’t keep people safe. People who care, who check on them often…and simply hanging out together–keeps everyone safe.

Entry filed under: brain fitness, caring for parents, elder care, family caregiving, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , .

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This Blog

Hi, I'm Carol O'Dell. This blog will include stories and lessons I've learned while caring for my mom, and now as I speak to caregivers around the country. I hope to offer suggestions, ideas and insights that will help others.

While this blog is supported by Dakim Brain Fitness, I’m not blogging to promote the Dakim company or products. Instead, I’m writing about how caring and being cared for affects your life and your family. My hope is that this blog gives you a place to learn, reflect, gain new perspective to make it another day.

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