How to Help With Alzheimer’s Wandering in Seniors

Confused senior with Alzheimer's looking out the front door
Heaven at Home Senior Care can help caregivers better manage Alzheimer’s wandering in seniors.

One of the most worrying behaviors in dementia is the propensity for Alzheimer’s wandering and the potential danger that could arise if the person gets lost or becomes disoriented. Alzheimer’s wandering can take place if the older adult is:

  • Frightened, confused or overwhelmed
  • Bored
  • Trying to find someone or something
  • Tending to a basic necessity (such as getting a glass of water or going to the bathroom)
  • Wanting to maintain a familiar past routine (for example, going to work or shopping)

The objective is twofold; to keep the individual safe, and to be certain that his/her needs are fulfilled to attempt to stop the need to wander from the outset. Consider the following safety measures if Alzheimer’s wandering is a concern:

  • Be certain that the home is equipped with a security system and locks that the individual cannot master, such as a sliding bolt lock out of his/her range of vision. An assortment of alarms can be bought, from something as simple as placing a bell over doorknobs, to highly sensitive pressure mats which will sound an alarm when stepped upon, to GPS products that can be worn, and many more. It is also recommended that you sign up for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return Program.
  • An additional danger for people who wander is the increased risk of falling. Have a look at each room of the house and tackle any tripping concerns, such as removing throw rugs, extension cords, and any obstacles which might be blocking walkways, installing extra lighting, and placing gates at the top and bottom of stairways.
  • Camouflage exits by covering up doors with curtains, placing short-term folding barriers strategically around doorways, or by wallpapering or painting doors to match the surrounding walls. You can even try placing “NO EXIT” signs on doors, which can sometimes deter people in the earlier stages of dementia from trying to exit.

Alzheimer’s wandering is not necessarily detrimental if the aging adult has proper guidance and direction. Go for a walk together outside whenever weather allows and your loved one is in the mood to be mobile, providing the additional advantage of fresh air, exercise, and quality time together.

While often challenging to manage, the dementia care team at Heaven at Home Senior Care is specially trained to be both vigilant and proactive in deterring wandering and to incorporate creative strategies to help seniors with dementia remain safe and content. Contact us at 940-380-0500 to find out more about our home care in Frisco and the surrounding areas!