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ARTICLES / General / On The Move

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On The Move

By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer

(Page 5 of 5)

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and professionals at Mayo Clinic offer these practical tips to keep a wanderer safe:

  • First, reduce hazards. Throw rugs and extension cords are both tripping risks. Gates at stairwells and nightlights offer fall prevention.

  • Having a “safe” zone for walking and exploration offer a loved one a place for exercise and also instills a sense of freedom they may have lost. A fenced backyard or three-season patio are good options.

  • Reduce environmental stimuli like loud music or overcrowding, which might initiate wandering behaviors.

  • Set a daily routine that includes recreational activities.

  • Hide essential items such as coats, keys, wallets, and shoes that may spark a desire to leave home.

  • Another consideration to increase safety is camouflage. A coat of paint, curtains, or some wallpaper can cover a door and blend it in with the surrounding wall. A mirror also works to deter a dementia patient from entering rooms that are off limits or not safe.

It’s difficult for a caregiver to not feel as if they are “locking down” their loved one, but the repercussions can be a lost person, or worse. Wandering is a serious side effect of dementia, though it may be minimized with a bit of knowledge and practical safety precautions.


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