If your loved one tends to wander due to Dementia or Alzheimer's, it can make your life as a family member or caregiver anxious and harder than necessary. Here are some tips to keep you at peace, and keep your loved one safe.
1. Make the home secure. Put up chimes in the door so you can hear when it opens. You may want to change locks on the outside doors or put them higher where they are not easily noticed. Sometimes a simple sign on the door, "Stop" or "Do Not Enter" can stop your wanderer from going outside.
2. Always have ID on the person. Carrying a wallet or purse with identification is important, but not enough. If your loved one takes it out on purpose or looses it by accident, he will be harder to identify. An identify bracelet could be worn. Temporary tattoos might be a reasonable option. Make sure there is a place for your phone number.
3. Dress in bright colors. Especially if you are going to have your loved one out in public, have her dressed in bright colors. Bright colors are easily spotted from a distance. Take a picture of her at the beginning of the outing in case you need to show her picture to those helping look for her.
4. Physical activity can help. Sometimes taking a walk in the evening can help settle your loved one if he tends to wander especially at night. Lessening the nap times during the day can also help to make your loved one feel more tired at night and be able to get a better night's rest.
5. Know your neighbors. Introduce your loved one to her neighbors. Make sure the neighbors know her needs and give them your number in case they need to contact you. Neighbors tend to keep out of your business until they realize there is a need for them to stay alert.
6. Consider a tracking device. There are many small tracking devices worn, sewn into clothing, or worn in shoes to track your loved one if needed. Make use of available technology to not only keep your loved one safe, but to give you peace of mind as well.
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!