Prevent Wandering in Dementia Patients

The drive to prevent wandering in patients is never-ending for caregivers. Wandering can lead to devastating consequences for the patient and for their loved ones. In the worst cases, the patient wanders off and is simply never heard from again. Therefore, this causes anguish and pain for all involved. In such cases, special care for dementia patients should be considered.

Fortunately, cognitive and medical science has advanced far enough to provide some deceptively simple solutions to the problem of wandering in these patients. Read on below to find out how!

Elderly women suffering from dementia wandering on a lonely road

Lock doors to prevent wandering

It’s a seemingly obvious solution, but locking the doors is one of the best ways. Dementia causes significant confusion in its unfortunate sufferers. These patients are frequently unable to perform simple tasks like unlocking doors.

Usually, this inability or reduced ability to perform tasks is an unfortunate symptom of the disorder. In this case, however, it works in favor of the caregiver seeking to protect their loved one.

Put up a fence

Another simple solution is to strategically place a fence in the path of a wandering person. Such a fence can help keep them from wandering. Even small, seemingly insubstantial, barriers can prevent wandering in dementia patients. Just like the loss of ability to perform basic tasks can make door locking effective, the loss of physical agility can work to keep dementia patients from crossing over barriers.

Ideally, one would consider a fence as a kind of failsafe solution. One should not allow dementia patients unsupervised into areas secured only by a small fence. But, just in case, a fence should prevent a truly tragic accident.

Put up signs

One should not underestimate the simple power of a well-placed sign. A large, simple sign that says something like “STOP” can have an immediate effect on patients suffering from dementia. Because they are not intentionally trying to get themselves into trouble, many patients are liable to obey such signs.

Of course, one shouldn’t rely exclusively on such signs to prevent wandering in people suffering from dementia. Therefore, one should only use signs in conjunction with securely locked doors and sturdy fences.

Physical activities

Last but not least, physical therapy and occupational therapy can prevent wandering in some dementia patients. Physical activity creates an overall improvement in cognitive function. Physical activity also ensures that the patient is well-exercised rather than restless. All of this reduces the risk of wandering.

A surprising variety of physical activities can be helpful, ranging from supervised walking to light resistance training. As a result, the important thing is to get the patient up and moving around. The increase in cognitive function and general sense of well-being can be profound.

Final thoughts

At the Fairview Rehab & Nursing Home in Queens, NY, we take the most exacting care to prevent wandering in our patients. In addition to secure facilities, we offer constant, caring supervision and physical and occupational therapy to prevent incidents with our patients.

If you’d like to speak to one of our skilled staff members today, give us a call or walk in at your convenience. We’d love to speak with you.