13 December 2008

Holiday frenzy can bring confusion and wandering

Decorations, crowds may spur some seniors with dementia to roam
Huston Chronicle: 8 December 2008
The frenzy of the holiday season and changes in routine can be disruptive for people with dementia and their carers. For those with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, holiday frenzy and changes in routine can prove disruptive. During the weeks around Thanksgiving and Christmas the Chicago-based Alzheimer's Association usually has a 10 percent increase in calls to their helpline, concerning people who have wandered away. During the 2007 holiday season, the helpline experience a 31 percent increase in calls compared with the rest of the year.

The following tips are suggested to prevent wandering of loved ones with dementia during this holiday season:
  • Be prepared. Recognize that wandering is part of the progression of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
  • Don't leave people with dementia home alone.
    Keep doors locked. Attach a lock on the lower part of the door. The pesron will typically not think to look below eye level.
  • Trick the eye: Paint doorknobs the same color as walls.
  • Set your home alarm to sound when doors are opened.
    Take the person's keys, so he/she can't drive off.
  • If confiscating keys isn't an option, disable the car battery or flatten tires. > read story

Recommend reading: Alzheimer’s Australia Helpsheet Wandering and Return Safe Home program

For additional resources on this topic review the reading list on wandering

Also view related stories about support through the holiday season and suggested tips.

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