Wandering with Alzheimer's Disease: Understanding the Risk and Exploring Prevention Strategies

Alzheimer's Care Houston One of the reasons many families eventually choose the continuous care of an assisted living center when a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease is to prevent wandering. Wandering is extremely common in people with Alzheimer’s, and without proper supervision, it can become dangerous. Here is what you need to know about the risks of wandering and strategies for preventing it.

What is wandering?
Wandering occurs when someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia walks away on his or her own and becomes lost or disoriented. It happens to about six in 10 people with Alzheimer’s disease, so it is something that families need to be vigilant about. It can occur at any stage of the disease. In addition to being dangerous, it can also be extremely distressing for both the person with memory loss and his or her loved ones.

What are the signs?
Although not knowing where your loved one is an obvious sign of wandering, it is not the only one. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, be alert to signs like regular trips taking longer than normal. As the disease progresses, your loved one may be vulnerable to wandering if he or she paces or acts agitated, gets anxious in crowded areas, or gets confused when he or she tries to find places in the home, like the kitchen or bedroom. Your loved one may also be at risk of wandering if he or she talks about going places he or she no longer goes, like work, or talks about needing to go home when he or she is already at home.

How can wandering be prevented?
Continuous care in a secure assisted living center can be extremely helpful, since there can always be someone around to ensure your loved one is safe. Structured days and exercise to reduce agitation can also help. Alzheimer’s care should always be provided in an assisted living center with locked doors that prevent residents from leaving unsupervised.

At Avalon Memory Care, the safety of our residents is our top priority, and each of our assisted living centers in Dallas, Arlington, and Houston is a secure facility. To learn more about the memory care services we provide, please call (214) 752-7050.