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5 Causes of Wandering in Seniors with Dementia

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Wandering is one of the most frightening behaviors associated with dementia. When seniors wander, they may become lost and confused and make themselves vulnerable to dangers such as crime and exposure to harsh weather. While technology such as GPS tracking makes it easier to help seniors avoid injuries or illnesses, it is still important to figure out the underlying causes of wandering.

Caring for seniors with dementia can be a challenge. As a family caregiver, you may have to assist your loved one in his or her daily activities. The Woodlands home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

If your senior loved one frequently wanders off, here are 5 possible reasons for this behavior.

1. Trying to Find a Bathroom

Seniors may wander accidently when they try to find their way to the bathroom. This usually happens late at night when caregivers are also asleep. To prevent this cause for wandering, try taking your loved one to the restroom shortly before he or she goes to sleep. Highlight the bathroom door by making a well-lit path or paint the door with a special color to make it stand out from the rest. While you don’t want to restrict fluids completely, it may help to reduce your loved one’s intake of caffeinated beverages that can increase urine output.

2. Feeling Hungry

Midnight snacks take on new meaning when your loved one wanders out into the neighborhood. Help cut out late night hunger pangs by feeding your loved one several light snacks throughout the day and adding one after dinner if he or she tends to stay up late. If your loved one still gets up to eat, place a sensor pad by the bed to hear if he or she gets up in the middle of the night.

3. Experiencing Pain

Discomfort makes it difficult to relax, and your loved one may try walking around to alleviate distress. Try to figure out the reason behind your loved one’s pain. If necessary, take him or her in for a medical and dental checkup to find out what is wrong. Often, correcting an underlying issue or providing the appropriate type of pain relief ends a senior’s wandering.

4. Confusion Regarding Time

A senior with dementia may suddenly begin living in the past or forget what time or day it is. For this reason, your loved one may leave the house thinking it is time to go to work or that he or she is running late for an appointment. Consider giving your senior loved one a clock that outlines the time along with the day, month, and year in large numbers. If your loved one insists on leaving for work, he or she may need around-the-clock care and other strategies such as placing a stop sign on the front door at night.

Every senior has different needs when aging in place. Some simply need occasional assistance with household chores, while others may be managing a serious illness and require more extensive 24-hour care. North Houston seniors can count on Home Care Assistance to provide the in-home care they need and deserve.

5. Upsetting Hallucinations

In the later stages of dementia, psychosis can occur. This can result in a senior attempting to flee a room or building due to fear caused by frightening hallucinations. Incidents such as these should be reported to a physician because your loved one may need medications to reduce hallucinations. Meanwhile, you can keep your loved one safe by using GPS trackers and offering compassionate reassurance when a hallucination happens.

A dementia diagnosis can be difficult for seniors and their families to face. If you need help caring for your aging loved one while he or she manages the challenges of dementia, turn to Home Care Assistance of Kingwood. Dementia care isn’t the only thing we specialize in. All of our hourly and live-in caregivers are also trained to assist seniors during stroke recovery and help those living with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s maintain a higher quality of life. Call one of our Care Managers at 832-412-1345 to create a customized dementia care plan for your senior loved one.