When caring for an individual who’s suffering from dementia, ensuring safety is obviously the top priority. You want to do everything in your power to keep your loved one fully protected—and that means recognizing some of the most common risks and dangers. One of the most significant of these risks is wandering, a behavior that’s sadly common among those who have dementia.
But what is wandering, exactly? Simply put, it involves the individual with dementia becoming confused or disoriented. He or she may literally start to wander away—out of the house, or into an area that is unfamiliar. Often, the wanderer will be trying to find “home,” even if he or she is already at home. Ultimately, wandering can lead to these individuals becoming lost, or finding themselves in alien places.
What’s more, it can lead to injury and peril. There have been deaths associated with wandering—e.g., individuals wandering outside, becoming lost, and succumbing to hypothermia, which happened at an Ohio nursing home earlier this year.
The question is, what can caregivers do to keep those with dementia safe? In this post, we’ll offer some advice for caregivers that focus on wander management.
What are Common Behaviors of Wandering?
One of the most important ways to provide help for dementia patients is to simply observe them; be aware of the most common signs of wandering. Some of these include:
- Becoming disoriented or agitated while in the home; seeming lost or unfamiliar, even when in a very familiar setting.
- Making attempts to escape the premises—whether that’s home or an eldercare community.
- Showing restlessness, especially at certain hours of the day (wandering behaviors often follow patterns).
- Searching or seeming aimless while walking.
If you witness any of these behaviors, that could be a sign that your loved one is prone to wandering.
Tips to Manage and Minimize Wandering
With that said, what can caregivers do to ensure walking safety, and to start creating a plan to reduce incidents of wandering? Some basic caregiving tips include:
- Monitor and measure wandering behaviors. Be alert to any patterns—certain activities or times of day that seem to promote wandering. Be especially vigilant in these scenarios.
- Provide a secure home. Make sure you’re using all the appropriate locks, and that you keep potentially dangerous items (such as tripping hazards) out of the way.
- Use efficient tracking devices. There are a number of robust yet discreet wander management tools you can use in your home. Learn more about using a tracker device by contacting Salient.
- Plan some activities to keep your loved one engaged and active; ultimately, this is the best defense against wandering.
Wander Management from Salient Networks
At Salient Networks, something we’re passionate about is using technology to make people’s lives better—and safer. As such, we are a leading provider of systems that reduce wandering and promote walking safety. We provide wander management systems for dementia care facilities and senior living homes throughout California. Our expertise is just one reason why you should choose us for your wander reduction needs.
If you’re looking to provide help for dementia patients, one of the best things you can do is look into wander protection technologies. Ensure that you get a system that is reliable, and one that will provide the appropriate alarms—allowing you to assist your loved one as needed.
Ultimately, you want to do anything you can to reduce wandering. A good wandering management system can help you accomplish this, and provide you with total peace of mind. To learn more about some of the best wander protections on the market today, contact the experts. Reach out to our team at Salient Networks at your next convenience.