Help for Seniors Who Wander


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For families of people with dementia, life can be full of fear and worry – and there are few thoughts more terrifying than the prospect of their loved one wandering off and getting lost.

​That's why Home Instead Senior Care has recently established the Missing Senior Network – an online service to help families get the word out when their older loved ones have wandered. You can get started by logging in to the site with a user name and password. Then, all you have to do is complete three simple forms:

  • One for your senior: including their name, ideas on possible places they might go, and a photo, if you have one.
  • One with your contact information
  • One with the contact information of anyone else who should get the alert, such as friends, families, neighbors and others in your community who are familiar with your situation.

If you are ever in an emergency situation involving senior wandering, your contacts will get a text, letting them know to be on the lookout.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, anyone living with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia is at risk of wandering.

Family caregivers should be aware of the following common triggers that may cause someone with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia to wander:

  • Delusions or hallucinations: those living with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia may misinterpret sights or sounds, causing them to feel fearful and wander to escape their environment.
  • Overstimulation: someone living with dementia can become easily upset in noisy or crowded environments, triggering them to look for an escape from the chaos.
  • Fatigue, especially during late afternoons and evenings: those living with dementia may become tired, causing restless pacing and, eventually, wandering.
  • Disorientation to place and time: the person may not recognize they are home and seek to return to a familiar place, such as a former workplace. 
  • Change in routine: people living with dementia may become confused following a change of routine, wandering in an effort to return to a familiar place.

For more information on helping people living with dementia stay safe, please contact us!

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