Wandering is a challenge caregivers need to understand, plan for, and try to prevent. There is definitely no one solution. In Part 2 of our Definitive Caregivers Guide to Wandering, we will cover how to understand reasons for wandering.
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The reasons behind a loved one’s urge to wander can be complex. As caregivers we need to seek out information to better help those with Alzheimer’s and dementia who wander, as well as keep them safe.
Let’s take an in-depth look at how you can begin taking notes on what you see, and how to log the time and frequency of attempted events.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Wandering Tips
1. Begin Examining What You See During Wandering Moments
The very term “wandering” can be obscure and misleading for caregivers. It puts a label on a moment or group of events that is disassociated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
However, symptoms are different for each person, and so are the reasons. To find a potential solution, cut back on wandering moments, or to simply come up with preventive measures, caregivers need to understand the emotions and motivations behind wandering.
Here are some helpful questions you should ask yourself to begin examining behavior in your loved one or patient:
- Are movements sporadic and uneasy with no real direction or destination?
- Is your loved one trying to escape or leave?
- Do they move with a goal in mind, like trying to find someone or some place?
- Is there an issue with recognizing familiar places?
- Waking up in the night very disoriented?
- Is your loved one acting anxious and walking nervously?
- Getting lost?
- Is the person mirroring another person’s movements?
- Is paranoia or a sense of danger in your loved one’s mind?
The above questions can help you discern the motivations and emotions behind wandering. For instance, if a loved one or patient is getting up in the middle of the night to wander, they may be experiencing sleep issues.
These issues may be addressed to settle the urge to wander. But the time and frequency can help too.
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2. What Time of Day and Frequency are Wandering Moments?
Since moments can be sporadic, it is important to note time and frequency of them. Caregivers need to think about the time wandering occurs, and the outcomes of each moment. This can help you prepare for wandering, as well as set up preventive measures.
For instance, a loved one wanders every day at the same time and the moment lasts for two hours. Or a moment may happen at a specific time every morning and lasts for up to eight hours daily. Understanding the patterns is important.
For example, if a loved one is waking each morning at the same time and attempting to wander, they may be trying to fulfill a past routine like going to work.
Caregivers Should Examine Behavior
The above questions and examples of noting time and frequency can potentially help caregivers make a plan to combat the dangers of wandering. In Part 3 we will discuss underlying causes and preventive measures.
Be sure to follow us and subscribe to get Part 3!
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Continue to Part 1 here: Definitive Caregivers Guide To Decrease Wandering Risk In Seniors [Part 1]