There has been a rise in the number of elderly people living with dementia in places like Northbrook, Glenview and Highland Park. Dementia causes memory loss and confusion, during these challenging times it is important to keep seniors calm and safe.
Seniors who are living with Alzheimer’s and dementia sometimes believe they are in a different time period in their life than the present and wander off to a location they used to go. Areas throughout Chicago and the northern suburbs have changed drastically over the last 50 years, so places they used to go to regularly may not be there anymore. If that specific location is no longer there, the elderly person may get lost looking for a place that no longer exists.
To keep seniors living with dementia safe, caregivers and nursing homes have started creating dementia files. Caregivers and nursing staff in nursing facilities are working with the seniors’ families to learn more about the seniors on a deeper level. Some of the information the caregivers and nursing staff want to learn include:
- Where the senior went to school
- Where they used to live
- Where they got married
- Their favorite spots to hang out
- Their favorite hobbies
- If they wandered before, where did they go?
It is important to document all of this information, because it may help determine behavior patterns in seniors. Something may trigger the senior to think about details from the past, which causes the senior to respond by wandering off to a certain location. Documentation is key to monitoring the safety of the senior.
Finding the answers to these questions may help caregivers and family members find a senior if they wander off on their own. Making all of this information available to the police, caregivers, family members and nursing staff may help locate the wandering senior faster and could prevent potential injuries. Even if a senior is not known to be a wanderer, it is better to be prepared should it ever happen.