Does this scene sound familiar? Your 76-year old father leaves his Minnesota home one cold winter morning without telling anyone where he was going. After realizing he is missing and frantically searching, he is discovered by some concerned strangers who noticed he looked confused. Even though he’s been retired for 12 years, he thought he was on his way to work and was found approximately 10 miles from his home. We at Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis hear similar stories every day. Minor details may be different with each story, but overall the general theme is the same – the wandering senior has a purpose and intent when they start out, but get lost along the way.
Wandering is a very serious issue for those living with Alzheimer’s disease, or another form of dementia, and their loved ones. Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that may take those who are diagnosed with it to a different time and place. Wandering is one of the potential symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. People can become confused about their location and wander or get lost while searching for something, at any stage of Alzheimer’s, even the very early stages of dementia. Many times those who wander are trying to get to a familiar destination with a specific purpose in mind, such as a former job.
Watch this touching video about a man on a mission.
In an effort to bring awareness of important topics that affect the seniors in our Minneapolis communities, such as prescription medication management and preventing senior hospitalizations, Home Instead Senior Care has introduced their latest public education program, Prevent Wandering. This program offers tips and valuable resources to help family caregivers manage this common issue for even the most prepared families.
The Alzheimer’s Association has identified five common triggers often found when individuals with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia tend to wander. Things such as fatigue or being disoriented are well known triggers, but there are other important factors to be aware of:
- Delusions or hallucinations
- Fatigue, especially in the late afternoon and evening
- Disorientation to place and time
- Change in routine and unmet needs
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, six in 10 people with dementia will wander and many will do so repeatedly. Any individual living with some form of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, is at risk of wandering. Having the disease itself is a top reason to watch for these signs.
- Trouble navigating familiar places – have you noticed Dad has trouble getting to and from places he has frequented for years?
- Frequent talk about fulfilling non-existent obligations – does Mom tend to repeatedly talk about an appointment that doesn’t exist?
- Agitation in the late afternoon or early evening hours – commonly referred to as “sundowning”, the individual becomes restless and agitated as fatigue sets in during the early evening hours.
- A constant desire to go home when they’re already there – reassure your loved one he or she is safe and secure.
- Unmet needs – needing to use the bathroom, but not able to remember where it is.
For someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia as well as those who care for them, wandering can be a very scary issue. Also, research conducted by Home Instead Senior Care, reveals the stress that symptoms of dementia, such as wandering, can play on family caregivers. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis understands the stress that goes along with caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. To help ease the stress and fear for families, Home Instead provides a free service called Missing Senior Network which allows you to alert a personalized list of contacts if your loved one wanders or is missing. This amazing service, which is part of the Prevent Wandering public education campaign, allows you to set up a private network, including relatives, friends, and nearby businesses to help locate your family member quickly when he or she wanders away. Learn more and sign up for the Missing Senior Network service today!
Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis provides services such as companionship, dementia and Alzheimer’s care, and support for the family caregivers to ensure the protection of dignity of the aging senior receiving care. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis is a local business offering friendly, responsive care right in your Minneapolis, Minnesota community. To inquire about any of our senior services or becoming a CAREGiver, call us at 763-544-5988 today!