Dealing with wandering? Whether you've lived through the singularly frightening experience of an elderly parent with worsening Alzheimer's disease wander off, or heard a related story on the news as a Silver Alert is broadcast, statistics from the Alzheimer's Association are staggering. As many as 60% of people afflicted with Alzheimer's will wander at some point. Also know as "elopement", the rising incidence of wandering among the elderly make this a high-priority concern for caregivers.
Wanderers not found alive and well within a 24-hour period stand a 50% chance of being discovered either seriously injured or even deceased.
Wandering is one of the primary reasons caregivers look to nursing homes and assisted living facilities for peace of mind that their loved one is safe, secure and in a comfortable environment. If living with working children, adult day care is an option where the elderly individual will have constant supervision as well as stimulating activities to occupy their day. With second-stage Alzheimer's, there are many factors that tend to encourage wandering in Alzheimer's patients. Below are the most common:
- Large crowds (i.e., malls, busy stores, public events, and venues)
- Excessive noise
- Lack of exercise
- Lack of mental stimulation
The good news is that there are as many ways to keep tabs on your wanderer as there are reasons for wandering. Fortunately, not all options require the move to a nursing facility, should you choose to keep your parent at home with the family.
- GPS tracking systems (bracelets, anklets, necklaces)
- Automatic outside door-locking systems
- In-home aides (with Alzheimer care training)
- Adult Day Care
Having a trained caregiver to offer respite and peace of mind while you're still part of the workforce offers invaluable stress relief and gives the patient companionship, regular meals, and if needed, personal care.
As you are learning to deal with the changes that aging can bring, be patient with yourself, patient with your loved one, seek advice and answers to questions, and remember you are not in this alone. Contact a Caring Senior Service team member today!