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Dealing with senior wandering in nursing homes

| Jul 10, 2018 | Nursing Home Neglect

Many people who know that their senior relative is prone to wandering are troubled and frightened for their loved one, particularly if their elder relative lives in a New York City assisted living facility and requires monitoring. You may have to choose a nursing home or facility based on why your senior wanders. Wandering is a problem many nursing homes deal with, and how they handle it can depend on the reasons a senior chooses to wander.

Agingcare.com provides many reasons a senior may wander. Some people wander because of bathroom needs, so having a bathroom within easy access of a bedroom can cut down on the motivation of a resident to walk very far. Other people may wander because they are seeking out personal interaction. A facility that encourages socialization with other residents can be the answer you are looking for. A senior who wanders due to boredom would benefit from a place with regularly scheduled activities.

Another question is whether wandering actually does any harm to the wanderer. Sometimes relatives of a wandering senior just find the wandering to be an annoying quirk but does not put the senior in any danger. The senior is still physically strong and is aware enough not to wander into any dangerous environments. In fact, the wandering may provide the senior with needed exercise. If this is the case, providing the senior with a controlled environment to walk can be a great benefit.

On the other hand, seniors that wander without awareness of their time and surroundings can be at serious risk. They can walk to the point that they exhaust themselves. They may get lost and do not know where they have ended up. Other dangers include falling down or entering a dangerous area. Additionally, some wandering seniors may exercise themselves too hard to the point they lose weight. Some seniors cannot afford to drop a lot of weight and can end up in a weakened physical condition.

In the event your loved one wanders due to dementia, the iAdvance Senior Care website points out a number of ways facilities may handle wandering residents who suffer from diminished mental capacities. Exits can be located beyond a point that is typically staffed, so the facility workers will be likely to see residents as they approach the exit. Nursing homes can differentiate corridors so they do not all appear the same and confuse a wandering resident. Tagging residents and using door alarms can also alert staff to a resident that is attempting to leave.

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