One of the biggest worries of caregivers who tend to people with cognitive problems such as autism, Down's syndrome, and dementia (which can result from Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, head injuries, and Parkinson’s disease), is that those patients will wander away from home and get lost.
Whether you worry about your mother with dementia, wandering away when gardening, or your son with autism, following something that catches his eye and getting lost, a caregiver cannot be everywhere at all times, but you can complete these tasks to help prevent wandering and maintain communication at all times.
- Use a wearable tracking device. New technology allows us to locate our loved ones and communicate with them in times of need. Smartstones Touch is a solution that offers both geolocation and communication, as well as setting remote alarms that your loved one can feel and see.
- Secure your home. Install new locks, and ensure that windows are adequately difficult to climb through. While bars can be necessary in certain circumstances, simpler solutions include installing motion detectors to notify you if someone opens any doors or windows, or even simply placing a bell around each doorknob in the house.
- Make sure the person always carries ID. Even if wandering has not yet become a problem, having some form of identifcation on your loved one's person can make the difference in whether or not they can get home. Creative methods include stitching contact information into a jacket or shoes, or even temporary tattoos.
- Dress your loved one in bright clothing. Bright clothing ensures that you can spot him or her in a crowd or at a distance. Keep in mind what is appropriate and how your loved one feels about it.
- Know your neighbors. Introduce your loved one to the neighbors, let them know if they are prone to wandering and give them a good number to contact you.
- Put up signs. "Stop" or "Do Not Enter" hung on the front door can help your loved one not wind up outside accidentally. Similarly, hanging specific signs like "Bathroom" and "Bedroom" helps remind them which door leads to where.
- Increase physical activity. Some experts believe that wandering at night can be combatted by ensuring enough excercise during the day. Even a short walk in the evening can help with restlestness.
- Look for an underlying problem. Sometimes wandering is not random and recurring stimuli can induce it. For example, Autistic children sometimes fixate on certain sounds or sights, and may follow them to investigate.
What to do if your loved one wanders?
If preventative measures do not help, and you find your family member wanders off, the first thing you should do is contact 911 or the proper local authorities. They can help you locate the person, and bring them home, but only if you tell them to look!
Stay connected so you can contact them if they wander.
This article was brought to you by Smartstones® Touch™.
Smartstones® Touch™ is an upcoming product designed to enable nonverbal communication between caregivers and the people they care for.
It is a revolutionary communication device that allows caregivers to locate, remind, and communicate through simple gestures and touch. Extend the connection you have with your loved one over a distance, by sending simple messages composed of light, vibration and sound. Comfort them, or reinforce good behavior with a message of praise. Let them know you're on your way, find them if they wander, and remind them to take medication.
To learn more, sign up for our email list below. We'll keep you updated on Smartstones® Touch™ until launch.