Wandering is one of the greatest challenges faced by family caregivers whose loved one has Alzheimer’s or other memory loss. Over 60% of Alzheimer’s patients will become lost at some time. Most are gone only briefly, though long enough to frighten their loved ones. Others may be lost for an extended period of time, and unfortunately, there are news reports each year of missing Alzheimer’s patients who are never located. It is a sobering fact that if a person with dementia is lost for over 24 hours, he or she is likely to suffer a fall or other serious injury, or even death from injury or exposure. Reports one family caregiver, “The thought that Dad would climb onto a bus at the corner and we would never find him again keeps me awake at night, even on nights when he is getting a good night’s sleep.”
The first is a unique solution for the “I want to go home” problem that many with dementia encounter daily. Home, however, is in the mind of the patient, not HOME as the caregiver might understand it. Listen to this podcast on Radiolab (sort of long, but worth it) that offers an excellent solution to the problem. (Tip: Have the Kleenex handy for this one.)
The second approach is one based on research and assistive technology, using touch screen TV to create interactive memory sessions and interactive art and music sessions. These two vastly different and innovative approaches to making life easier for those suffering from Alzheimer’s or related dementias and their caregivers share one common goal: keeping the patient happy and engaged. Learn more here.
From Practical Care Continuum’s newsletter.