If your parent or a senior loved one is suffering from dementia, it is possible your relative may engage in wandering. This can put your loved one at great risk of injury or death. If you are considering putting your relative in a nursing home, you should know that the facility is ready to handle any issues your loved one has with wandering.
As the Mayo Clinic points out, there are many reasons why a senior may wander. With proper care, a senior might have less motivation to wander. Still, a nursing home should be ready to keep a senior safe if he or she starts walking around without an apparent reason.
Wandering to meet certain needs
In some cases, a senior may seek to meet a basic need like going to the bathroom or finding something to eat. Nursing home workers should make sure their residents have their meals and can access a bathroom when needed. Sometimes a senior becomes lonely and wants to find someone to socialize with. A nursing home that allows its seniors to interact in common areas may reduce their need to seek out companionship.
Wandering because of past routines
Your loved one may wander due to the effects of dementia. Some seniors forget where they are and try to return home or they may think they are home and seek out a kitchen, living room or a bedroom. Additionally, they may go looking for a friend or a spouse. Some dementia sufferers think it is time to go to work and wander in search of their place of employment.
Take steps to keep your loved one safe
Nursing home workers that do not secure their facilities run the risk of their residents wandering outside. Depending on the weather, they might encounter hot or cold weather and risk death by exposure. They may also not be aware of traffic and could wander into it.
Discuss your concerns with nursing home workers before you place your loved one in the facility. The more you learn about the home, the better chance your relative has of finding a safe place to live.