People with dementia may exhibit irritability and certain changes in behaviour and personality which may be troubling to you as a family member. Often, their actions may not seem logical, and it can be difficult to explain why they do the things they do. Dementia is a brain disorder which can affect someone’s behaviour and personality in a significant way, and one of the most common symptoms of such a condition is wandering. Many people with dementia often wander, but there can be various reasons for this. Here’s how best to deal with wandering in a person with dementia.
How to Deal with Dementia
The Potential Reasons
There are many potential reasons why your loved one may wander. Sometimes, they seem to walk around without an aim or reason, but this wandering behaviour could have underlying reasons that you may not know about. One potential reason for this type of behaviour is boredom. Another reason would be the side effect of certain medication, and yet another reason would be that they are simply looking for someone or something. Additionally, they may be looking to do something – drink water, eat, or go to the toilet. Try to discover what is triggering this wandering behaviour so you will have an easier time dealing with it.
Some Tips to Handle Wandering
• It may be time to install a new locking system for the home, particularly one that requires keys. The locks should be positioned either low or high, as many of those who have dementia tend not to look above or below the level of their eyes. Make sure, however, that the locks are accessible to other family members in case of emergency.
• You can try placing a ‘barrier’ across the doors of the home, such as drapes or streamers. Even a sign that says ‘do not enter’ or ‘stop’ may work as well.
• You can also try adding plastic doorknob covers which are ‘child safe’ on all exit doors.
• Another solution would be to install a monitoring or security system for the home; this can help you keep watch over your loved one even when you are away. You can also avail of digital gadgets or devices which your loved one can wear as a watch or on their belt, and this makes use of GPS technology to track your loved one if they wander around.
• It may also make sense to hide certain items like the person’s purse, glasses, or coat. Some people with dementia may not want to go out if they don’t have these items.
• One of the best solutions for wandering would be to rely on live in care for your loved one. Having a caregiver responsible for your loved one can be a big boost for your peace of mind, and you know you are relying on professional help as well.