In our last blog post, we discussed wandering with regards to the memory impaired, what causes wandering, and some ways to help prevent wandering. The reality is that even with a 24-hour caregiver, a person can wander off in a blink of an eye. In this blog post, we’ll cover signs that your loved one may be at risk of wandering and what to do if your loved one does indeed wander off.
Serenity Gardens offers superb dementia care homes in three locations: Dickinson, Friendswood, and Deer Park. We specialize in having an extremely small resident population so we can offer them a place that feels like home, with nutritious shared meals, a community environment, and pets. Keep reading for more on wandering, and contact us today to learn more about our dementia care home!
Who is at Risk for Wandering?
Technically speaking, anyone with some form of memory impairment is at risk for wandering and getting lost. However, it’s usually in the early stages of dementia and Altzheimer’s where a person is still independent that they are at risk of wandering. Some of the warning signs include:
- Those who are unsure where rooms are in their own homes and repeatedly have to look for them when needed
- Those who return much later than expected, for example, after going on a simple errand to the grocery store
- Those who have no idea how to get to places they’ve been
- Those who are always talking about going home when they are at home
- Those who are moving things around perpetually but are not actually doing anything
- Those who ask about family and friends who have passed as if they were still alive
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR LOVED ONE DOES WANDER OFF
Despite your best efforts, your loved one may wander off. Below are the steps to take if your loved one is missing.
- Don’t panic. Most people’s first reaction is to panic. Instead, take a deep breath, and think about what to do logically. Remember, your loved one is just missing, but, odds are, not dead. You have time to get help.
- Call 911. By calling 911, you are immediately alerting the police to your missing loved one. If you tell them that they have dementia or Altzheimer’s disease, you often can bypass the mandatory 24-hour waiting period. You will be required to head down to the nearest police station and fill out a missing person’s report so that the police have all of the information that they need to find your loved one. Have all of the documentation handy, such as a recent photo and their last whereabouts. It’s also good to report what they were last wearing.
- Begin your own search. While the cops handle the official search, it’s good for you to frequent the spots you might think your loved one might have gone to, especially if they went missing while driving. Oftentimes, they end up in a familiar location, not because they know where they are going, but because muscle memory takes them there. Plus, having as many legs on the ground as possible only increases the chance your loved one will be found.
In many cases, missing loved ones are found rather quickly, especially if they were on foot. However, cause for concern does escalate if it’s winter, and your loved one has no jacket or warm clothing on. Time is always of the essence in a missing person’s case, but weather can play a factor as well. The same can be said if they wandered off in a desert climate.
CHOOSE SERENITY GARDENS FOR YOUR ELDERLY CARE NEEDS
If you are looking for a top-notch elderly care facility in Dickinson, Friendswood, or Deer Park, then give Serenity Gardens a call today. We’ll be more than happy to help!