Six out of ten older adults with dementia wander or become disoriented to some extent, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Even if a dementia-related condition isn’t a factor, age-related cognitive decline can also cause an aging loved one to get lost from time to time. If you’re starting to have concerns about this, here are some steps you can take to help a loved one who’s starting to get lost.
Encourage the Use of “Reminder Prompts”
If getting lost is mostly due to forgetting some basic directions, give your loved one some gentle reminders. However, if your loved one isn’t thrilled about needing direct assistance, suggest the use of:
• Apps like Waze and Apple Maps that show directions
• Post-it notes
• GPS-guided voice assistance when driving
Look for Patterns
Look for times of the day when your parent’s mental clarity is best. With Alzheimer’s, seniors tend to be more alert earlier in the day. You can then nudge your loved one to run errands and do other tasks that require going from one place to another when cognitive abilities are least affected.
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional Home Care Philadelphia families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.
Avoid Busy/Crowded Places
Seniors may become confused or lose their sense of direction in crowded or busy places. If this appears to affect your loved one, suggest running errands during less busy times of the day. And for times when there will be a lot of people around, go with your loved one or encourage him or her to bring a friend along.
Use “Smart” Items for Added Peace of Mind & Safety
There’s nothing more frightening and stressful than suddenly not knowing where your loved one is. One solution is to use smart devices. Things like smart watches or jewelry such as rings and bracelets can be worn by your loved one. Should your loved one become lost, these smart items can be used to show his or her location.
Provide Appropriate Supervision
Find mutually acceptable ways to provide sufficient supervision for your loved one when getting lost becomes a concern. In some instances, you may need to get creative with how you step up your supervision efforts. Some seniors are receptive to:
• Letting family members help with errands
• The use of personal monitoring devices for added security and safety
• In-home care for times when nobody else is available
Recommend Senior Transportation Services
There may come a time when a loved one who’s getting lost can no longer safely drive. If you believe this will soon be the case, help your loved one transition to other ways of getting around. Senior transportation services can be beneficial for this purpose, since your loved one can still retain some control over how he or she gets around.
Transportation and monitoring your loved one’s whereabouts are just two of the many types of assistance a home caregiver can provide. Senior care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.
Talk to Your Loved One’s Doctor
Don’t automatically assume getting lost is something your loved one has to accept as a part of getting older. There are sometimes treatable underlying health issues that can affect cognitive abilities or steps that can be taken to address cognitive decline. Some seniors are helped by:
• Medication changes
• Cognitive therapies
• Adjustments in diet and exercise habits to boost brain health
• Treatments for previously undiagnosed health issues
Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Philadelphia live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or is recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional live-in caregivers from Home Care Assistance to enhance his or her quality of life. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner when your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging. Call us today at (215) 645-4663 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.