Dementia and other cognitive disorders increase the likelihood of a senior wandering off. Once your aging loved one begins to show confusion about where he or she is or how he or she got there, it’s time to start taking action to prevent a serious situation. These strategies work best when you implement them early on in your loved one’s care plan.
1. Provide Cues for Determining Time & Place
Getting lost often happens when seniors are confused about what’s happening around them. For instance, they may wander off if they’re trying to get to the restroom at night but accidentally go out the front door. Signs posted on doors can let your loved one quickly see where they lead. You can also use calendars, alarm clocks, and checklists to keep your loved one more closely aware of reality.
2. Consider Hanging Up the Car Keys
Seniors who get lost while driving can make it far away from their original locations. Once cognitive decline reaches this point, it’s usually safest to put the car keys away. While your loved one might still get lost on foot, it will be much easier to find him or her if he or she hasn’t managed to travel across city or state lines.
Transportation and monitoring your loved one’s whereabouts are just two of the many types of assistance a home caregiver can provide for your loved one. Senior 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.
3. Provide a Companion for Public Outings
A senior with cognitive challenges should still be encouraged to get out of the house and be social. Home care companions are capable of supervising seniors who have a tendency to wander off, and you may even want to bring a home caregiver along when you’re with your loved one just to have an extra set of eyes. You can make this aspect of the care plan fun by introducing the companion as a new friend who’s excited to take your loved one to special places in the community.
Many older adults are choosing to age in place, and some need a helping hand to continue living at home safely and comfortably. Luckily, there is professional in-home care Highland Park seniors can trust and rely on.
4. Create a List of Your Parent’s Habits & Favorite Places
Many times, seniors will wander off and be found at their favorite restaurants or other local venues. Seniors have also been found at their former homes or workplaces. Keeping a list of your loved one’s favorite places to go gives members of the search party a starting point for finding your parent if he or she does manage to get lost. Keep in mind that where your loved one goes may not always make sense. For example, he or she might choose to go to the grocery store late at night if he or she is confused about the time.
5. Place Identifying Information on Clothing
With the right safeguards in place, it’s likely your loved one will never get lost. However, it’s best to plan for every possible contingency. Place ID tags in your loved one’s clothing that include his or her name, address, and a phone number where a person can contact you or another reliable caregiver. You can also find GPS tracking devices that can be placed in shoes or on a necklace that give you information on your loved one’s whereabouts if he or she goes missing.
Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Highland Park live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or is recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional live-in caregivers from Home Care Assistance to enhance his or her quality of life. To schedule a free in-home consultation, give us a call at (214) 363-3400 today.