No one wants to find a parent has wandered off. With Alzheimer’s, it can happen with no notice. Even if you think there’s no way it could happen to your family, it’s important to sign up with the Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return program. Here are four other steps to take to keep a parent from wandering.
Create a Safe Retreat
Create a safe place in the home for your mom or dad to retreat to when fear or discomfort is present. Soothing sounds, colors, and scents all help. Instead of trying to get out of the house, your parent can curl up in the private retreat and “escape” from stress.
Make Sure Alzheimer’s Patients Get Lots of Daily Exercises
One of the best ways to keep your mom or dad from wandering is by making sure activities happen throughout the day. If your parent doesn’t have time to nap, chances are higher than your mom or dad will sleep all night. Create a full schedule of outdoor and indoor activities. A brisk walk after dinner can help with one last push to tire your parent out.
Install Door Alarms and Locks
Door alarms will notify you if your mom or dad tries to get outside. You’ll be able to keep them from going outside and getting lost. If you don’t like the idea of alarms or want a back-up, locks placed in unusual places will also help. Install a lock at the top of the door or near the floor. Your parent isn’t likely to look for a lock in those areas.
Take Care of Physical Needs
Your parent is less likely to get up and start wandering if physical needs like hunger, urge to go to the bathroom, and thirst are present. Make sure your mom or dad eats a snack before bedtime. Limit beverages for a couple hours before bed and have them go to the bathroom after brushing teeth and getting ready for bed. A small cup of water helps ease thirst in the middle of the night.
After your mom or dad does try to wander, you’ll need to take measures to make sure supervision is always available. You might need to split up the day into shifts. You stay up with your mom or dad for a number of hours and your siblings take other shifts.
When there are gaps that no one is available to cover, hire a caregiver. Senior care professionals can watch your mom or dad while you go to work, run errands, or take a break. Call an Eldercare agency to learn more about pricing and services.