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Making the Home More Secure for Seniors with Wandering Tendencies

Elderly Care in North Palm Beach FL

The Alzheimer’s Association reports that more than 60 percent of those elderly adults who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia will develop wandering tendencies. Elderly-Care-in-North-Palm-Beach-FLThese tendencies occur because of confusion, disorientation, and the death of brain cells that control memory. As with other symptoms of the disease, wandering tendencies usually begin subtly. They tend to start with just minor confusion and disorientation, or difficulty concentrating. Your parent might go out for a familiar walk but take longer to return or may not be able to complete tasks that she begins. As they progress, however, they can become serious. For those who have advanced into true wandering tendencies, if they have not returned home within 24 hours after leaving, they are at a 50 percent chance of suffering a severe injury or even dying.

Addressing your aging parent’s wandering tendencies is an important part of your elderly care efforts for her. Taking steps to make her home more secure and safe can dramatically minimize the chances that your senior will wander and get lost or hurt. This will also help to create a more efficient care approach that you and your parent’s elderly health care services provider can follow to increase independence while avoiding dangerous wandering.


Use these tips to help you create a home that is safer and more secure for a senior who is dealing with wandering tendencies:

  • Install locks. Simply because your elderly parent is coping with memory loss and cognitive decline does not mean that she cannot figure out how to get through a locked door. In fact, because Alzheimer’s disease impacts short-term memory first, she likely remembers using the door when she was younger and it poses no challenge. Adding extra locks throughout the home can help to create a more secure environment. Consider locks that are not readily visible such as deadbolts near the top of the door or floor locks. Be sure to also install secure locking mechanisms on the windows as some seniors may attempt to leave the home through the window. Something as simple as driving a large nail through the frame in one corner so that it connects the top and bottom windows can be highly effective.
  • Install alarms. No matter how many locks you place around the home, you should never assume that they are absolutely failsafe. Someone might forget to engage them or your parent could figure out how to use them. Installing alarms ensures you or your parent’s care provider will be alerted if she attempts to open a door or window. This is especially useful at night as many seniors experience sundowners and may wander restlessly while others are sleeping.
  • Distract her. Another way to help wandering from becoming dangerous is to distract your parent from exits or rooms that are potentially hazardous. Invest in a few long curtains or tapestries and hang them over the doors at night or when you do not want your parent to go into a certain room. This can help to mask that there is a door there so that your parent will not attempt to use it.


If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in North Palm Beach, FL, please contact the caring staff at Atlantic In-Home Care today. Call (772) 202-3006 for information.