Avoiding Dementia-Related Wandering
Persons living with Alzheimer’s and dementia are prone to wandering, which often puts them at risk. As temperatures continue to drop across the Capital Region this winter, those risks increase exponentially. According to an Alzheimer’s Association study, 6 in 10 people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia will wander. It is one of the most unsettling behavioral changes common for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, yet it often surprises family caregivers and can end with tragic results.
Wandering can happen in the early, middle or late stages of the disease as people experience losses in judgement and orientation. It can also happen if they are still driving or have access to car keys. They may drive away and not know how to get back. In order to best serve our constituents, we want to arm you with tips for preventing wandering:
• Have a routine for daily activities.
• Identify the most likely times of day that wandering may occur. Plan activities at that time.
• Reassure the person if he or she feels lost, abandoned or disoriented. If the person with dementia wants to leave to “go home” or “go to work,” use communication focused on exploration and validation. Refrain from correcting the person.
• Ensure all basic needs are met. Has the person gone to the bathroom? Is he or she thirsty or hungry?
• Avoid busy places that are confusing and can cause disorientation.
• Place locks out of the line of sight. Install either high or low on exterior doors and consider placing slide bolts at the top or bottom.
• Use devices that signal when a door or window is opened. This can be as simple as a bell placed above a door or as sophisticated as an electronic home alarm.
• Provide supervision. Do not leave someone with dementia unsupervised in new or changed surroundings.
• If the person is no longer driving, remove access to car keys – a person with dementia may not just wander by foot. The person may forget that he or she can no longer drive.
Alzheiemer’s Association Offers Free Virtual Education Classes for All New York Residents
CAPITAL DISTRICT – While we enter the New Year with great hope, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten the health of millions in this country and around the world. Steps have been taken to provide care and support for those who need it, however, the virus continues to present unique challenges for more than 5 million Americans, including 410,000 in New York, living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.
The Alzheimer’s Association, Northeastern New York chapter is offering free virtual education programs throughout January and February to help local caregivers throughout our 17-county area. Our Winter Caregiver Connection series includes a number of education programs that can help those living with Alzheimer’s and their families understand what to expect so they can be prepared to meet the changes ahead and live well for as long as possible. Caregivers are encouraged to register for one or all of the programs in the series.
Each virtual education program is approximately one hour and allows the audience to ask questions and engage with others going through the journey online.
Upcoming virtual education programs in January and February include:
• Difficult Conversations: An Overview of Advanced Directives and End-of-Life Planning: Feb. 4 at 2 p.m.
• Effective Communication Strategies: Feb. 5 at noon
• Legal and Financial Planning: Feb. 9 at 4:30 p.m.
• Managing Difficult Behaviors: Feb. 12 at noon
• Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease: Feb. 16 at 5:30 p.m.
• Meaningful Engagement, Activities at Home: Feb. 23 at 10 a.m.
Register at alz.org/crf.
POESTENKILL – Our weekly meetings are held every Tuesday at 1:00 in the afternoon at the Sullivan Jones Post in Poestenkill. All seniors are welcome. We have catered lunches, pizza, clam steams, fish fries and luncheons that are held at various restaurants and best of all bus trips to casinos, theaters and points of interest.
Informational talks on senior safety and health are given from time to time. Dues are $15.00 a year. Coffee and refreshments are served after the meeting followed by Bingo and cards. Come join the fun and a afternoon out. The hall is handicapped accessible with sufficient parking. Hope to see you there.
Attendees must wear a mask until seated and social distancing is encouraged
Grab and Go Lunches Available
RENSSELAER – The Rensselaer County Senior Senior Center are offering nutritious meals Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Pickup between 12 noon and 12:30. Please call the day before to order your lunch and enjoy a homemade hot meal three times a week must be 60 years or older to participate in this great program call 518-463-2166 for more information. Located at East and Herrick Streets.
Attention Closet Cleaners
RENSSELAER – We, at the Rensselaer County Rensselaer Senior Center, thank you so much for responding to our request for spring and summer gently used clothing we are still accepting donations and are still in need of shoes pocketbooks and costume jewelry. For those of you who have thought of cleaning your closets but haven’t gotten around to it you still have time. we are also accepting fall and winter clothing as well. Call the center at 518-463-2166 for more information or to make a donation. Located at East and Herrick Streets. Again thank you.
Rensselaer Senior Center Boutique
RENSSELAER – Rensselaer County Corner Boutique open by appointment. We are so Thankful for the generosity of all of the people that donated to our boutique. We have beautiful clothes (Loft, Talbots, Anne Klien, Alfani, J.Jill, Alfred Dunner, Eddie Bauer, LL Bean Etc.) designer shoes, pocketbooks, jewelry, household Items all priced to go home with you. All proceeds go to senior functions. All are welcome to come and shop. Call today for an appointment 518-463-2166 Monday through Friday 9-3pm. Rensselaer County Rensselaer Center East and Herrick Streets