How to Keep Loved Ones With Alzheimer’s From Wandering

Man behind locked door

For those who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s, these tips for preventing wandering can help enhance safety and provide peace of mind.

Of the many effects of Alzheimer’s disease, one of the most alarming is the individual’s tendency for wandering and the potential dangers that can arise if the senior becomes disoriented or lost. Loved ones with Alzheimer’s may wander if they are:

  • Scared, confused or overwhelmed
  • Trying to find someone or something
  • Bored
  • Attempting to preserve a familiar former routine (such as going to work or shopping)
  • Taking care of a simple need (such as looking for a glass of water or going to the bathroom)

The goal is twofold; to keep your loved ones with Alzheimer’s safe and secure, and also to make certain his/her needs are fulfilled to attempt to prevent the desire to wander in the first place. Try the following safety precautions from our experts in senior home care in Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas if your family member is likely to wander:

  • Make sure the house is equipped with a security system and locks that the senior is unable to master, such as a sliding bolt lock out of his/her range of vision. An assortment of alarms can be purchased, from something as simple as placing a bell over doorknobs, to highly sensitive pressure mats that will sound an alarm when stepped upon, to GPS devices that may be worn, and many more. It is also a wise idea to sign up for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return Program.
  • Conceal exits by covering doors with curtains, placing short-term folding barriers strategically around doorways, or by wallpapering or painting doors to match the surrounding walls. You may want to try placing “NO EXIT” signs on doors, which can sometimes deter those in the earlier stages of dementia from attempting to exit.
  • Another risk for those who wander is the elevated danger of falling. Look over each room of the home and address any tripping concerns, such as removing throw rugs, electrical cords, and any obstructions that may be blocking walkways, adding extra lighting, and placing gates at the top and bottom of stairways.

It’s important to bear in mind that with guidance and direction, wandering is not necessarily an issue. Take a stroll together outside whenever weather allows and the senior is in the mood to be mobile, providing the extra advantage of fresh air, physical exercise, and quality time together.

The home health care team at Harmony Home Care & Hospice, a trusted provider of senior home care in Salt Lake City and the nearby areas, can help. We offer a wide range of home health care and therapy services that could benefit your loved one in a number of ways.  Reach out to us at 877-463-3322 to find out more!