Preventing Wandering and Keeping a Loved One Safe

Caring for a loved one with dementia requires vigilance and an eye for detail. With this in mind, Tim Tholen, CEO and Founder of Thoughtful Health Care and its affiliates in Kansas City welcomed Chief of Prairie Village Police, Tim Schwartzkopf  ​and Dr. James Birch, Jr.,​ Associate Professor of Family Medicine at The University of Kansas School of Medicine as guests to provide expertise about wandering and safety. In the livestream video “Preventing Wandering and Promoting Safety” Tim leads a live discussion with two professionals who have valuable insights about safety for people with dementia.

Watch the livestream video “Preventing Wandering and Promoting Safety” below:

In-Home Safety

Accidents in the home can be avoided by assessing risks as soon as a diagnosis of dementia is given. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Make sure lighting is available in all areas of the home. Nightlights in the bedroom and bathroom can prevent falls.
  • Assess areas in the home where fall risks exist. Secure loose rugs, remove cords that are in the way, put textured adhesives on slippery surfaces.
  • Safety in the bathroom is crucial. Install grip bars where needed. There are companies that specialize in making bathrooms safe.
  • Remove knobs on kitchen appliances to prevent fires.
  • Proper hygiene is a sign that a loved one is able to take care of him or herself. When hygiene goes downhill, it may be time to step in to help.
  • Foods in the refrigerator should be fresh and consumable.
  • Be sure that medications are taken as directed. This is a big issue among people with dementia.
  • Install alarms or cameras, which will signal if a problem arises when the caregiver is away.

Do Reduce the Risk of Wandering

Because wandering is common among people with dementia, it’s crucial that caregivers are informed about its triggers and conditions. For example, if a person with dementia gets disoriented or lost in the grocery store, or follows the caregiver around the house, it’s a signal that wandering might become an issue. There are technologies that can be a help, such as GPS apps for the loved one’s phone. However, ensuring that the loved one will remember to carry the phone on a regular basis can be an issue. Here are some more tips:

  • Do call your local Sheriff’s office to let them know that a person at a particular address has dementia.
  • Do have a recent photo and a description of your loved one.
  • Do ask neighbors to let you know if they see your loved one out and about.
  • Do install alarms and cameras, if a caregiver isn’t around at all times.

When the problems outweigh the solutions, it’s an indicator that your loved one may need more care. Our professional caregivers at Thoughtful Health Care are here to support your family in caring for a loved one at home. Please feel free to contact us for more information.

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For more information about Thoughtful Care visit the Thoughtful Healthcare website.