By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer
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
- 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
- Set a daily routine that includes
- Hide essential items such as coats, keys,
wallets, and shoes that may spark a desire to
- 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.