If your elderly loved one has dementia or Alheimer’s disease, she may be more prone to wandering. Your loved one may have other health conditions that also make her likely to wander, though, so it’s a good idea to start understanding why she might be trying to leave.
She’s Experiencing Emotional Reactions
When your elderly loved one is dealing with emotions that she doesn’t have an easy outlet for, those might find a release through wandering. Some of the reactions that could trigger wandering could be fear or stress. This can be most prevalent when your loved one is in an unfamiliar environment or a situation that she doesn’t fully understand. Wandering can also happen as a result of frustration, such as when your loved one is looking for something, but doesn’t remember what that something is.
She’s Fighting Boredom
If your loved one has excess energy or she’s just bored, that can inspire wandering. One way around this is to make sure that your loved one has a regular exercise routine in place. Always check with her doctor before starting an exercise routine, of course. Mental stimulation is also important for keeping your loved one from being bored. Try puzzles, games, or hobbies that your loved one enjoys.
She Needs Something
Some elderly loved ones lose the ability to communicate well with their family caregivers for one reason or another. When that happens, they may wander because they have a basic need that isn’t being met and they’re unsure how to communicate that need. Your loved one may be hungry, for example, or may need the restroom and forgot where to go. Learning how to anticipate your loved one’s needs can help to minimize this.
She’s Locked in an Old Routine
Another common reason that an elderly loved one might wander can be that she’s remembering old routines, such as going to work every day, and she’s trying to act out those urges. Often when your loved one is acting out one of these scenarios, it’s obvious what’s going on. You may have a tough time convincing her that she’s okay to leave that old routine in the past, though.
If you’re still having a difficult time figuring out why your loved one is wandering, talk to her doctors and to her elder care providers to narrow down other potential causes.