Alzheimer’s patients often wander around and when they are housed in care facilities, they sometimes leave the facility completely. It is a natural thing for them to do once having been struck by the disease. Finding them once they have wandered off is a search and rescue operation all by itself. The other thing about them wandering off is that they end up being lost in the middle of nowhere and don’t stick to recognized routes.
The way the mind works when a regular adult wanders is like this. They use their short term memory and their long term memory to locate prominent location, buildings etc. They have a keen sense of time and speed which they use to judge distance. Lastly, they have a strong and keen visual-spatial sense that tells them of direction angles and the approximate time between each landmark.
These three functions are not available to an Alzheimer’s patient. So, when he or she wander, it can become very dangerous. Consequences have proven to be as fatal as death. This can prove to be very tragic for the loved one also. The dangers of getting lost and not knowing where he or she is are great.
The reasons that Alzheimer’s patients wander are quite wide ranged. They either are searching for something – a lot of times a little peace away from the noise. Many people still think they are fully functional working professionals and try to go about their day as if it was a regular work day. Sometimes these people just want to look for a place, a thought, a person, an old memory among other things. In this particular case, it is suggested that a photo album be shown to that person, which will help them remember.
There are certain things that the person taking care of the Alzheimer’s patient can do to prevent him or her from wandering and getting themselves in danger. Put locks on al the doors and the windows. Don’t leave any possible corner or floor unlocked. Even the upper floors if there are. Then you could install alarms at all points of exit. You can also put up fences and gates. While it restricts them to the premises, it also gives them a sense of security.
Just so that they are found and brought back home safe and sound, they can be given an ID card or a bracelet that tells someone where home is for them. If you do go ahead with the bracelet idea, put the bracelet on the stronger hand. Dress them in colored clothes so that they can be noticeable. Never leave them alone in the car nor should you leave them alone at home. If you ask your neighbor to keep an eye on him or her, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind. Either you must see to it that there is someone there to always be there and help the person when they need assistance.