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How can I keep my grandma from wandering off?

She keeps trying to go find her sister who lives on the east coast. We are in California.
Status: Open    Nov 24, 2014 - 10:34 AM

Dementia

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Expert Answers

Feb 03, 2016 - 12:22 PM

Hello! I am assuming you mean she is leaving the house to find her sister? If it is when you are with her, the best thing to do is use a technique called validation orientation. So when she says she wants to go find her sister, don't argue and try to tell her she lives far away. To your loved one, it is very real. A way to validate and distract would be to say, "what is your favorite thing you have done with your sister?" or anything to validate and have her understand that you heard what she said and you are engaging in her reality.

If you are worried about her "escaping" the house some of the best things include:

1. a black mat in front of the door (it sounds crazy I know) but it gives the appearance of a hole and people tend to not want to stand on it

2. a door sticker that looks like a bookshelf - they see it not as a door, so they do not try to get out of it.

3. a "do not enter" sign - not a written sign but one used at a work site. It has authority and many people still feel the need to abide by rules.



Wishing you the best!

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Feb 05, 2016 - 01:49 PM

Have you checked out the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org) programs for keeping individuals with dementia safe. One program is the Medic Alert and Safe Return program. This program includes medic alert jewelry for the individual and a nationwide safe return emergency response program for someone who has wandered off. The other program is the Comfort Zone program, which helps families monitor individuals with dementia.

Answers

Dec 15, 2014 - 03:27 PM

In my experience, momentary distraction is the best policy. You could say "let's go tomorrow, it's too dark/cold/late to go today."
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