ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Many families fear their loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s will wander away, get lost or be seriously injured. But a new resource for caretakers might just help.
Jim Griffith, owner of Home Instead Senior Care in St. Louis says families need to be proactive in ensuring the safety of their loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia because they are prone to wander away from their caretakers.
Home Instead conducted a survey of over a thousand caregivers in North America and found how common wandering is for Alzheimer’s patients. “Our research has shown over 50 percent of families…who are taking care of a loved one at home with dementia will experience the problem of wandering,” Griffith says.
The reason Alzheimer’s patients wander varies, but Griffith says it can be as simple as an attempt to escape noisy or crowded places. Others reasons include fear of being in a strange place, restlessness or to trying to maintain an old routine. “The father might have had dinner or lunch with guys around the block for a number of years,” Griffith says. “They’re all gone and he’s alone so he thinks, ‘I’ve gotta meet them around the block at the restaurant.'”
To keep families safe and informed, Griffith suggests caretakers getting a medical bracelet for their loved ones and signing them up on the Missing Senior Network website for a free account. If a listed patient wanders away, the names of family and friends on the website will be alerted via text or email. Caretakers are also encouraged to use the Home Instead Facebook page to post an alert.
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