What Causes Wandering in Senior Living Communities?

In any senior living community, safety is obviously the foremost concern. One of the biggest risks to resident safety is wandering—something that’s fairly common among those with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Essentially, wandering occurs when the resident becomes restless for home—not realizing that he or she is already at home. Thus, the resident may literally set out “wandering,” or questing for home. He or she may become lost or even get injured.

Wandering and its Triggers

The question is, what can senior living communities do to minimize the risk of wandering? One important step is being aware of wandering’s common triggers. According to eldercare experts, the most common triggers include:

  • Delusions or hallucinations. Those who live in senior living communities can sometimes misinterpret sights and sounds, prompting them to get up to investigate or to try to go somewhere “safe.”
  • Changes in routine. When residents have their day-to-day rhythms disrupted, or when they fear their needs are not being met, it can cause agitation, and in some cases that can trigger wandering.
  • Big, noisy gatherings—such as parties—can often trigger wandering.
  • Wandering is most common during certain times of day—particularly, late in the afternoon and early in the evening. This is because residents tend to be more tired during these hours.
  • As we noted, those with dementia may simply become confused about where they are and seek to head “home.”

Keeping Residents Safe

Awareness of these triggers is key—but ultimately, senior living communities need systems that can protect residents even if they do wander. Salient Networks can provide the technological infrastructure you need to keep your residents safe and sound—as discreetly as possible. Contact us today to ask about the latest wander management solutions.