With age comes a whole host of problems. If you have older parents, you’ve likely seen or heard about some of these issues, including the tendency to wander. There are many reasons your elderly parent might wander off on their own, but to understand them, we also need to know who does it and what we can do to help them. This article will cover all these factors, so continue reading to learn more.
Who’s Likely To Wander?
Though many older folks tend to walk around aimlessly, that doesn’t mean they all do. The most common seniors to suffer frequent lapses are those with Alzheimer’s and other people with memory-related problems. While it’s less common, those with ADD might meander off, too. Of course, even if they have none of these issues, any senior might wander away once in a while.
Why Do They Wander?
Wandering is rarely a purposeful act. Most of the time, the person left because they were looking for something, such as food or a bathroom. However, the actual problem occurs when they forget where they were going or become distracted by something else. The tendency to wander might also be a side effect of their medication. Even if their pills aren’t for memory-related issues, they could lead to disorientation if they aren’t working correctly.
The final major reason an elderly parent might wander is to escape their current situation. Sometimes, it’s as simple as the desire to get out of an area that’s too loud. Other times, it’s less innocuous in intent, such as when an older person tries to leave their senior care facility without permission or get out of their house without anyone knowing. While this is the least likely reason for wandering, it’s the most common one for those without known medical issues.
What Can You Do To Help?
Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with the reasons your elderly parent might wander off. If the cause is medical-related, begin by talking to the person’s doctor. Many forms of memory care are available to help improve their current situation.
If you want to help your loved one yourself, you might consider attaining guardianship of your parent. That way, you will be able to keep a close eye on them in case their wandering gets worse. However, you can’t always be there for them. If you have a busy lifestyle or they still want to keep their independence, guardianship may not be the best option.
That’s when you need to look into other options for taking care of a parent that lives alone. One useful but unobtrusive option for this scenario is to buy them a smart device that can track their location. That way, if they wander too far away from where they’re supposed to be, you’ll be the first one to know about it, even if you live on the other side of the country.