Wandering is a very real risk for those suffering from Alzheimer's, affecting 3 out of 5 patients. When disoriented, Alzheimer patients are at risk of wandering around aimlessly, and those who are not found after 24 hours are likely to suffer serious injuries or even death. If you don't have the resources to provide the constant care and supervision that is needed for a relative with Alzheimer's, consider signing them into a memory care facility. As wandering is often caused by unmet physical or psychological needs, facilities that offer these 3 features tend to be able to prevent wandering more effectively.
Continual Structure from Daily Rituals
Although disoriented, those with Alzheimer's have a tendency to want to perform daily rituals that they have established prior to the onset of Alzheimer's symptoms. This is how they get a sense of structure in their lives. By allowing them to continue to perform daily rituals, Alzheimer's patients feel more fulfilled, as they are able to meet their physical needs. Memory care facilities aim to continue daily rituals in an attempt to restore structure into the lives of their residents.
This includes creating strict daily schedules for each patient and having staff members supervise each resident as they perform the rituals they have a habit of doing. The memory care facility should ask you about how your relative spends a regular day. For example, do they do laundry or even prepare dinner at a specific time? If they do, the facility should aim to include some of these daily rituals into their daily schedules at the facility.
Mental Stimulation to Prevent Cognitive Decline
The ideal memory care facility should also have activities in place that stimulate the residents' mental capacity to prevent cognitive decline. Keep in mind that wandering is not only caused by unmet physical needs, but also unmet psychological needs as well. Activities known to provide mental stimulation include reading, doing crossword puzzles, playing board games or card games, playing music and even having social activities like group discussions. Make sure that the memory care facility has libraries filled with books and game rooms with a wide array of different board games.
These activities not only prevent wandering, but also cognitive decline. In fact, studies have shown that there is a 30% to 50% decrease in the risk of developing memory loss amongst Alzheimer patients if they participate in mentally stimulating activities like reading, using the computer or even participating in arts and crafts projects like pottery.
Constant Supervision via GPS Bracelets or Tools
Some memory care facilities are rather large. You want to make sure that the facility is fully equipped with the tools needed to supervise your relatives all hours of the day. Even when a staff member is not present to physically offer supervision, the facility should still have a good idea where each resident is. A lot of facilities will request that each resident wear a bracelet or even special shoes that have GPS equipment installed in them. This way, the facility can easily track and pinpoint the location of each resident.
These GPS tools should also have alerts built into their design. Staff members should be immediately notified should a resident miraculously make their way out of the memory care facility.
Before signing up for a memory care facility, make sure you know exactly the type of services and features that the facility can offer. Memory care facilities should have the resources needed to prevent cognitive decline and rapid memory loss. They should also have different action plans set up to prevent wandering in order to keep their residents safe.
Contact a memory care facility and check it out for more information.Share
19 July 2016
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