In This Issue
How to recognize and prevent wandering behavior
Alzheimer's disease causes millions of Americans to lose their ability to recognize familiar places and faces, thus increasing their risk of wandering and getting lost. Many people cannot remember their name or address. They may become easily disoriented, even in their own neighborhood.
Six in 10 people with Alzheimer's disease will wander and it can happen during any stage of the disease.
Who is at risk of wandering?
Tips to prevent wandering
Carry out daily activities.
Identify the most likely times of day that wandering may occur.
Reassure the person if he or he feels lost, abandoned or disoriented.
Ensure all basic needs are met.
Avoid busy places that are confusing and can cause disorientation.
Place locks out of the line of sight.
Camouflage doors and door knobs.
Use devices that signal when a door or window is opened.
Keep car keys out of sight.
If night wandering is a problem:
We Can Help
Although common, wandering can be dangerous - even life threatening. The Alzheimer's Association offers programs designed to assist in the monitoring and return of those who wander.
MedicAlert® + Alzheimer's Association Safe Return® is a nationwide identification program designed to save lives by facilitating the safe return of those who wander.
Comfort Zone® and Comfort Zone Check-In® allows families to monitor a person with dementia's whereabouts remotely using Web-based location services.
Coping with Alzheimer’s disease is challenging for everyone involved. Difficult or unusual behaviors can be hard to explain to strangers. Sadly, embarrassment and stigma prevent many from going out and enjoying the activities they used to. But there are little things you can do to increase understanding and enable yourselves to enjoy getting out of the house.
People with Alzheimer’s disease slowly become less self-aware and less inhibited. They are unable to remember social norms or how they are expected to behave in certain situations. This can lead to strange or irrational behaviors. Additionally, people with dementia may not have the mental reserve to cope with stress in a socially appropriate fashion. They may not be able to express their needs, and then become agitated and irritable.
Understanding and being open about your loved one’s condition is key to successful outings. The Cleveland Area Chapter provides small cards for caregivers that can help them in awkward situations. If a person with dementia is displaying unusual behavior at a restaurant, for example, their caregiver hands them this small card that says “My companion has memory loss. Thank you for your patience.” Often, that is all that is needed to avoid an uncomfortable situation for all.
The card has also helped individuals in airport situations. “One family was having difficulty getting the person with the disease to take off their shoes, belt, etc.,” said Doreen Kearney, a Care Consultant with the Alzheimer’s Association. “The card was very helpful to them in getting through the security line.”
Some other tips for handling behaviors in public include:
If you would like us to send you these “Companion Cards,” please call us at 800.272.3900.
The Alzheimer’s Association® recently launched “I Have Alzheimer’s Disease,” a new section of alz.org. This robust site offers information and tools to empower a growing group of individuals living in the early stage of Alzheimer’s or another dementia to live their best life for as long as possible.
“The Association obtained input from people living in the early stage of the disease, including members of our Early-Stage Advisory Group. We found that individuals in this stage need to do more than learn about the disease. They want to know how others have handled receiving a diagnosis and what they are doing to lead a fulfilling life,” said Monica Moreno, director, early-stage initiatives, Alzheimer’s Association. “These Web pages are designed to do exactly that and more.”
The sentiment underlying I Have Alzheimer’s is simple: “You are not alone.” The Web section provides information and insights from real people living with the disease to help their peers move past the feeling of isolation and on to planning, preparing and receiving support.
“There’s a lot of information to digest after diagnosis. Some aspects can be difficult and we encourage users to take their time and learn at their own pace,” Moreno said. “As changes occur, new questions will come up. And we’re here to answer them.”
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is the most common human form of a group of rare, fatal brain disorders known as prion diseases.
The Cleveland Area Chapter now offers a support group for people with CJD and their caregivers. The group meets the first Wednesday of the month at 6:00 pm at our main office, 23215 Commerce Park, Suite 300 in Beachwood. The group is facilitated by Alzheimer's Association staff and Dr. Brian Appleby.
About Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
Through a process scientists don't yet understand, misfolded prion protein destroys brain cells. Resulting damage leads to rapid decline in thinking and reasoning as well as involuntary muscle movements, confusion, difficulty walking and mood changes. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease causes a type of dementia that gets worse unusually fast. More common causes of dementia, such as Alzheimer's, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia, typically progress more slowly.
CJD is rare, occurring in about one in 1 million people annually worldwide.
Find a Support Group
Support groups are an open gathering of people with common issues, needs and interests who come together to share their thoughts and experiences to better cope with and manage the challenges of dementia.
Our Helpline is here for you 24/7
Call (800) 272-3900
The Alzheimer's Association 24/7 Helpline provides reliable information and support to all those who need assistance. Call us toll-free anytime day or night at 1.800.272.3900.
Our 24/7 Helpline serves people with memory loss, caregivers, health care professionals and the public. Highly trained and knowledgeable staff can help you with:
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