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Preventing Dementia wandering: Top 10 tips

Have you noticed that your loved one has started wandering around aimlessly during the day and night? If you’re wondering if there’s a link between Dementia and wandering the Alzheimer’s Association tells us that 60% of people who live with Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease will wander about. If you’re a family member supporting your loved one, you might feel concerned for your older relative especially when the temperature drops. It’s natural to want to help your loved one.

So, learn more about what could trigger your loved one to wander off and read our 10 tips to help prevent Dementia wandering behaviour in your relative during the day and night.

Why do people with Dementia wander?

Wandering around in the day and night is a common behaviour for those living with Dementia. There are lots of reasons why they may be doing so, including:

  • Stress – if they are anxious or are experiencing fear in an overstimulating environment, this is how they are dealing with it
  • Searching – if they’ve gotten lost whilst looking for someone or something, they might end up wandering around
  • Boredom – it could be that they’re simply looking for something to do
  • Following old routines – they could be confused, thinking they need to head to work, school or the shops

How to deal with Dementia wandering

1) Look for patterns and triggers

Your loved one may wander off in the morning thinking it’s time to go to work or school.  Leave them reminders or build a calendar together to help them keep a regular routine. If they become agitated and wander at night, it could be that they are thirsty or hungry. Leaving a glass of water or a biscuit, by their bed each night could help.

2) Keep your home safe and secure

Install new locks and alarms high up on your doors and windows that your loved one can’t open easily.  Consider buying motion detectors such as alarm mats and wandering alarms next to exit doors or next to their bed. Hang bells on the doorknobs so that you’ll hear them if they do wander off.

3) Put up signs around the home

Consider putting up signs on internal doors in your loved one’s home, for example the toilet, bedroom and kitchen. That way they can see which door leads where and they’re less likely to accidentally end up outside.

4) Secure their garden and driveway

Putting up a fence or a gate around the garden could really help – it’s worth researching the different options available before deciding which is best because they can be expensive. But it allows your loved one to be outside getting some fresh air safely.

5) Make sure they always carry identification

Try to gently encourage your loved one to always have their identification on them, although this can be difficult for someone living with Alzheimer’s. Medical identification like a bracelet or pendant is a good idea.  You could consider sewing name labels and telephone numbers into your loved one’s clothes, such as their coats and jackets.

6) Dress brightly in crowds

If you’re going out with your loved one, suggest or choose wearing clothes  you can see from a distance – especially if you’re planning to be in a crowd. A small way of preventing wandering in those with Dementia, but this will make it easier for you to see your relative should they beging to wander out of sight.

7) Use GPS tracking devices

Think about using a GPS tracking device. Some devices sound an alarm on both the bracelet and a base unit when the person gets too far away. Others charge a monthly fee and use devices to pinpoint the person’s location on their mobile phones.

Decide which one would work best if your loved one wanders off, and try it out. You’ll need to slowly introduce the idea to your relative, in a gentle way so that they don’t feel that they have lost their independence.

8) Encourage them to exercise

Experts believe that getting out during the day can help prevent Dementia wandering at night. Consider a supervised walk before dinner. It may be enough to reduce agitation during the night.

9) Sleep routines

Is a loved living with Dementia wandering at night? Make sure you have a schedule of going to bed and waking up. If they are prone to wander at night – reduce their napping during the day and avoid any caffeinated drinks.

10) Get to know your neighbours

It’s worth making  your neighbours aware that your loved one has Dementia and that they are prone to wandering. That way, they are more likely to show compassion to you and your relative and understand the reason for the behaviour. Not only this, but it’s important that they are aware should your loved one wander and bump into their neighbour, so that they know how to respond and make sure they are safe.

Get in touch today

Hopefully, you feel more confident about dealing with Dementia and wandering. If you’re looking for extra support on a short or long term basis, our Dementia carers are here to help. Contact us today to arrange a no obligation FREE care assessment and find out how we can help.

Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia guide

If you’d like to find out more about Alzehimer’s and Dementia then please download your FREE guide here