Emergency services in major cities receive these calls every day: an elderly loved with dementia one is lost. They have left the house without telling anyone, and now you don’t know where they are. It’s a terrifying situation. There is often some logic in the route elderly dementia sufferers take when they ‘go wandering’, and so are usually found quickly. The good news is that you can take steps in the home to prevent this scary scenario from happening:
- Install a bell or alarm on the doors, so you know when they are opened.
- Always keep car keys safely stowed.
- Establish a routine in their daily activities. Habits help people with dementia to feel settled.
- If you notice your elderly loved one gets restless, find a way to incorporate an activity into their daily routine so they don’t feel the need to leave for a walk.
- Be vigilant in crowded places, where it’s easy to lose sight of each other.
- Often seniors with dementia go out because they feel they need something from the shops, so make sure they know their needs are met.
If you do lose your senior loved one, don’t panic. Alerting 911 is the first step, but then have a list of neighbours and friends you can call who would recognise him or her. Most senior wanderings follow logic, so try frequent favourites, local stores and cafes, and even their old workplace.