Have you noticed a change in your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia recently? If you begin to notice them acting strangely or starting to wander, it can be worrisome. To prevent wandering and decrease the risks of your loved one doing so, it’s important to understand who is at risk of wandering and what causes it.

According to Cydney Hansen, Marketing Director at CountryHouse, a memory care community in Granite Bay, CA, wandering can affect a number of seniors with dementia. “If you notice that your loved one forgets how to get to places they are familiar with, starts telling you they need to go to work or go home, becomes restless and begins to get nervous in crowded areas, it’s important to keep a closer eye on them because these behaviors are a prime example of someone who is at risk of wandering,” says Cydney. “Aside from caregivers asking me who is at risk of wandering, I often get asked why wandering occurs. Many times, seniors with dementia begin to wander because they are disoriented or afraid of where they are. It’s common for them to want to go to where they feel safe and secure, most often that’s home, even when they are at home. This can be scary for caregivers who may not know what to do, but it’s crucial for your loved one’s safety to find ways to prevent wandering from occurring.”

10 ways to prevent wandering in seniors with dementia

Because wandering impacts the lives of so many seniors with dementia, being proactive in preventing it can help decrease the chance that it occurs or can at least help ensure your loved one stays safe. Consider some of the following ways to prevent wandering.

  1. Keep a close eye on them. As a caregiver to a loved one with dementia, you know how important it is to watch over them, but did you know that keeping a close eye on them can also help deter them from wandering? By spending time with your loved one and keeping them busy, the chances of them wandering decrease significantly.
  2. Find what is triggering their stress. Those with dementia are likely to wander when they become anxious and agitated. When this occurs, do you find it is because of the time of day? Are they overstimulated or in a crowded area? This could trigger their desire to flee, so be sure to consider this when planning activities and outings for them.
  3. Establish a routine. If your loved one knows exactly what’s going on at a particular time of day, wandering can be prevented. Put a routine in place that allows your loved one to be busy doing something. Plan when you will eat lunch and dinner, set a time for bed, try to exercise in the morning and do relaxing activities in the evening. This can calm them and establish a sense of normalcy.
  4. Provide reassurance. If your loved one with dementia becomes agitated or upset, reassure them that you are there for them and would like to help. Let them know that they are safe and that you’ll stay with them until they feel better.
  5. Make the home as safe as possible. If your loved one commonly wanders already, it’s a good idea to make sure their environment is safe. Remove all tripping hazards, keep the floor clear and provide plenty of lighting – especially at night. Label doors if need be to let them know where the bathroom is and where their room is for easier locating.
  6. Be sure their needs are met. Before bed, ensure your loved one with dementia is not hungry and does not need to go to the bathroom. Set their thermostat to a comfortable temperature and make sure they have enough blankets and any security items they may need.
  7. Install alarms and locks on doors and windows. If your loved one with dementia often wants to leave, installing locks on doors and windows can help. Make sure that the locks are intact at all times and consider installing alarms so you are alerted if they do try to leave.
  8. Ensure car keys are hidden and out of sight. Many seniors who wander should not drive, as they may forget how to or not know where they are going. Hiding the car keys can help them to not think about where they want to go, leaving the car out of sight and out of mind.
  9. Equip your loved one with tracking technology. Accidents happen, but it’s best to be prepared for when they do. In case your loved one does successfully get out of the house or out of your sight, tracking technology can help locate them quickly. Whether they wear a bracelet, necklace or other technology, it’s still important to let others around the community know that your loved one has dementia and that if they are ever seen alone to call. This ensures they can be found easily and safely.
  10. Consider finding a safe place to wander. There are a number of memory care communities that can provide dementia care programs within a secure environment as well as safe, enclosed courtyards for your loved one to relax in. If you think this could be beneficial, consider touring and letting your loved one try it out.

For more information on how to prevent wandering, or to discover resources for support, turn to the experts at CountryHouse at Granite Bay. They can help you keep your loved one safe while providing you with the dedicated support you need to give your loved one with dementia the care they deserve.

Treating people like family is at the heart of what we do.

CountryHouse at Granite Bay was the very first CountryHouse location in California. With a desirable location among Folsom Lake and the Sierra foothills, and only 25 miles northeast of Sacramento, Granite Bay was the perfect area to place our upscale memory care community. While CountryHouse at Granite Bay may be brand new to California, we are certainly not new to the needs of seniors. And just like every CountryHouse around the United States, we know that personalized care can make all the difference when it comes to quality care and peace of mind.

At CountryHouse at Granite Bay, we provide personalized memory care in an environment that is beautiful and thoughtfully designed. Full of natural light, warmth and tasteful elegance, we want residents and their families to feel welcome and at home. In fact, our staff members are even hand-picked based on their natural empathy. Our staff learns each resident’s story, from their likes and dislikes to their values and their pasts, to customize care and make meaningful connections that provide residents with true moments of joy and the desire to make the most of each day.

With our LifeCycles wellness programming, we encourage residents to connect, engage and enjoy every day. Our LifeCycles programming is designed to focus on the four dimensions of wellness: physical, social, spiritual and intellectual. We achieve this through a range of daily activities and routines, which can include daily bus rides, cookouts, trips and other special events. At CountryHouse at Granite Bay, we strive to make sure our residents make the most of each day, and we believe that when you treat people like family, and keep that at the heart of what you do, residents, their families and their health thrive. Contact us to learn more!

Connect with us today or call us at 916•850•2774 for more information or to schedule a visit.

CountryHouse is part of the Agemark family of senior living communities.