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What Families Should Know about Wandering and Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer's Care Naperville

One of the biggest safety concerns families have with a senior parent with Alzheimer’s is wandering. Wandering is when a senior with Alzheimer’s becomes lost or confused and wanders away. Seniors who wander off alone could wander for hours before they are found. They could also end up getting into accidents or hurt. Alzheimer’s care at home can help prevent seniors from wandering. With specialized Alzheimer’s care, seniors are given one-on-one care, that means they are never left alone.

Wandering happens to most seniors with Alzheimer’s and it can happen much earlier in the progression of the disease than people realize. When a senior with Alzheimer’s wonders, they get confused and are not sure where they are. Nothing looks familiar with them, so they just keep going, hoping that eventually they will find something that looks familiar. There are many reasons why seniors with Alzheimer’s wander, such as:

They Are Trying To Meet A Need

One of the most common reasons why seniors wonder is that they have an unmet need that they can’t verbalize, but they are trying to meet that need. Your senior parent may wander off because they are looking for a bathroom. Or they are searching for some food or water. They could be tired and looking for their bedroom. If your senior loved one is getting agitated and trying to wander off, you should offer them a drink or snack or help them find the bathroom. After the need is met, they may stop trying to leave.

They Think They Are Supposed To Be Somewhere

Because dementia affects the brain, your senior parent may think that it’s a different day or time of the day, and that they are supposed to be at an appointment or meeting. They may be trying to leave because they have a nagging feeling that they are supposed to be somewhere, even if they are not sure where.

They Are Looking For Someone or Something

Another reason why seniors wander is that they are looking for someone or something. They may think they are close to the house they grew up in, and want to walk by it. Or they may want to leave so that they can find an old friend, a relative, or a spouse. Seniors with Alzheimer’s whose spouse has passed away often go looking for their spouse because they think the spouse is still there.

They Are Falling Into An Old Routine

Alzheimer’s makes time move in strange ways for seniors. Your senior loved one may wander, because to them it’s an earlier year and they are following their daily routine. If your senior parent got up for work at 5 A.M. and left the house at 7 A.M. for work every day for twenty years, they may wake up at 5 A.M. and leave the house at 7 A.M. because to them that’s their current routine.

If you or an aging loved one is considering Alzheimer’s Care in Naperville, IL, please contact the caring staff at Suburban Home Care today. 630-964-9000

Sources:

https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/stages-behaviors/wandering

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/caregivers/in-depth/alzheimers/art-20046222

Suburban Home Care Staff

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