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What To Do If a Senior With Dementia Wanders Off

If you have a loved one with dementia, keeping them safe is your top priority and often the source of much of your stress.

If you have a loved one with dementia, keeping them safe is your top priority and often the source of much of your stress. If they should escape your watchful eye, their unexplained absence can cause fear in family and friends. If you’re wondering what to do or how to prevent this, you’re not alone.

There are a lot of unknowns when caring for a parent or family member with dementia, but the best way to ensure you provide the best care you’re capable of is to become more informed. Understanding why your loved one is wandering off, taking any necessary precautions to keep them safe, and considering safer alternatives such as memory care in Peoria can help you feel more prepared. 

Here are some tips to help you if your loved one should become confused about their location and get lost.

Understand Why It’s Happening

There are numerous reasons why seniors with dementia wander off, but a few are more common than others. One possible reason they might go off-plan is that they are following past routines. Your loved one might take a familiar path to work or to the grocery store, somewhere that is familiar to them and that they frequented before. 

Stress or fear can be another trigger that evokes a wandering response. This can happen in overly crowded spaces, such as parties, malls, or restaurants. Searching can also be a reason for wandering, whether it’s to fulfill a basic need, like going to the bathroom, or to try to find an old friend. If you begin to notice the patterns exhibited by your loved one in their wandering, it may help you to locate them sooner or notice when they are about to go off-plan.

Take Precautions

When your loved one has begun wandering, you’ll need to take precautions to avoid any worst-case scenarios. Their safety is the main priority, and if you’re their caregiver, you’ll have to handle their security yourself. 

One precaution you can take is to install alarms and locks in the home. Alarms can alert someone that your loved one tries to leave, and locks can prevent them from leaving the premises altogether. Make sure that this is done in a way that does not make them feel trapped. 

Another precaution might be to provide more supervision, making sure that someone is with your loved one at all times by moving in with them yourself or hiring around-the-clock care.

Consider a Memory Care Community

With dementia, your loved one’s safety is a top concern, and you may find that providing the care that they need is more difficult than you thought or can manage. If this is the case, you may want to consider looking into memory care communities in your area. 

Communities like the Mission at Agua Fria provide memory care in Peoria, Arizona, and can provide a safe environment for your loved one. Located on the ground floor, the memory care neighborhood includes a dining room, activity room, open lounge, dedicated nurse station, and large central gathering room. The resident’s studio apartments are designed with their safety in mind, and 24-hour care staff is on-site. Seniors with dementia can also benefit from the memory care programs offered to help them cope with their disease.

Communities like the Mission at Agua Fria specialize in caring for your loved one through their dementia, keeping them safe while still allowing them appropriate levels of freedom.