When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, it can be a difficult and emotional time for the entire family. Not only do you have to navigate through the challenges of caring for someone with this condition, but you also have to be aware of potential risks and dangers. One such risk is the possibility of elopement, where a dementia patient may wander or leave their designated area without supervision. The National Institutes of Health defines dementia related elopement as “leaving one’s dwelling unescorted.” They go on to say that “persistent wandering and elopement are linked to the high morbidity and mortality rates among” people with dementia. It’s no wonder that family caregivers look for ways to track dementia dementia patients prone to elopement.
Understanding Dementia: Behavioral Symptoms and Their Impact
Dementias are a family of complex and challenging neurological diseases that afflict millions of people around the world. It is a progressive disorder that impairs cognitive functioning and causes psychological changes as well. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Some of the cognitive impairments may include memory loss, trouble problem-solving, loss of coordination, problems communicating, and disorientation or confusion. On the psychological side, some of the symptoms include a change in personality, aggressiveness, agitation, anxiety, depression, and paranoia.” Understanding the behavioral symptoms and their impact is crucial for caregivers who are looking after a loved one with a dementia. alz.org says “there are many different types of dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease accounting for between 60% – 80% of all cases.”
The life changing impact of these behavioral symptoms on both the person with dementia AND their caregivers cannot be understated. Dementia can cause immense stress, anxiety, and worry for the family members who are responsible for their loved one’s well-being. The constant fear of elopement and the associated risks can be emotionally draining, leaving caregivers feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.
By understanding the behavioral symptoms and their impact, caregivers can take proactive steps to protect their loved ones with dementia. Implementing safeguards such as door alarms for dementia can significantly reduce the risk of elopement and enhance the overall safety of the person with dementia. This, in turn, allows caregivers to maintain their own psychological well-being, knowing that they have taken every precaution to keep their loved one safe.
In the next section, we will explore the dangers of elopement in dementia patients and discuss practical steps that caregivers can take to minimize the risk.
The Dangers of Elopement in Dementia Patients