One of the worst scenarios for families caring for someone living with Alzheimer's disease is a loved one wandering or getting lost. It causes immediate panic and concern, and unfortunately happens all too often. In fact, nearly 50 percent of some of these family members have experienced a loved one with Alzheimer's wandering or getting lost[i], according to a new survey conducted by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network. Of those, nearly one in five called the police for assistance. To help families keep their loved ones safe, the Home Instead Senior Care network has launched a free tool, the Missing Senior NetworkSM.
Found at www.MissingSeniorNetwork.com, the platform enables family caregivers to alert a network of friends, family and businesses to be on the lookout for a missing senior. The service provides a way to alert the network of a missing senior via text or email. Families can also choose to post an alert to the Home Instead Remember for Alzheimer's Facebook page, connected to 270,000 followers.
"These frightening occurrences lead families to call our office and ask for help," said Karl Karch, franchise owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Stafford, Spotsylvania, King George, Westmoreland and Orange Counties. "This resource was created to help area families understand the risk of wandering and have a tool that empowers them to quickly take action if a loved one living with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia wanders."
The Missing Senior Network is part of Home Instead Senior Care network's new Prevent WanderingSM program, which includes resources such as insight into what may trigger wandering events, steps families can take to help keep their loved ones safe, and tips on what to do if a wandering event occurs.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, anyone living with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia is at risk of wandering.
"Wandering can happen at any time, and not just on foot ─ someone in a car or even a wheelchair could wander," said Monica Moreno, director of Early Stage Initiatives for the Alzheimer's Association. "A person may want to go back to a former job he or she had, even though that job may no longer exist. Or, someone may have a personal need that must be met. There's always a purpose and intent. It's just a matter of identifying the triggers."
Family caregivers should be aware of the following common triggers that may cause someone with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia to wander:
"We understand the topic of wandering is something many families coping with Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia may avoid discussing," said Roberta Karch. "It's important for families to understand the potential triggers for wandering and have a plan in place to help keep their loved ones safe."
For additional tips and program resources, visit www.PreventWandering.com, or call our office at 540-899-1422.
To access the Missing Senior Network, visit www.MissingSeniorNetwork.com.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.
Each Home Instead Senior Care franchise is independently owned and operated.