One of the most difficult problems encountered by families is the Alzheimers patients need to walk, to be going home. They can wander away from their present home in search of their original home. Keeping them safe within their own boundaries can be quite a task. This can be a 24 hour a day watch.
Wandering may occur for various reasons:-
- The person may set off for the shop or to a friends house and become lost and disorientated
- They may enjoy walking and see no harm in heading off.
- May be looking for people and places from the past
- Physical changes which have occurred in the brain may cause a feeling of anxiety and restlessness
- The person may be bored, restless or upset
- May be confused if living arrangements are changed
Precautions to take:-
- Make the house secure by keeping exterior doors locked: make sure there are no internal locks that can only be operated from one side.
- Hide door keys
- Make the garden a safe place
- Advise friends and neighbours about the wandering and ask them to let you know if they see him or her unaccompanied.
- Try to be home late afternoon every day when the person may become restless
- Establish a routine, keep person busy by involving them in preparing the meal, folding clothes – hanging clothes on line etc.
Reference: Harvard Health Letter Special Report, Commonwealth, Dept., of Health & Family Services, (The Carer Experience)