Disasters & Alzheimer's Disease
- Provide one-to-one instructions where to go and what to do
- Use simple language
- Do not leave the person alone, find someone who can stay with them to offer reassurance
- Move the individual to a quiet place if possible
- Use distraction to reduce anxiety or agitation
- Be aware of the person's non-verbal communication. Pay attention to cues that the person may be overwhelmed (pacing, fidgeting)
- Reassure the person by holding hands, or putting a hand on their shoulder
- Find outlets for anxious energy, take a walk with the person or perform simple tasks (e.g. Folding laundry)
- Redirect the person's attention if he or she becomes upset
- Check that they have their medications
- Try to make sure they are eating regular meals
- Avoid elaborate or detailed explanations, provide information using concrete terms. Follow brief explanations with reassurance
- Remind the person that he/she is in the right place
During an Episode of Agitation:
- Approach the person from the front at eye level and use his/her name
- Use calm, positive statements and patient, low-pitched voice
- Respond to the emotions being expressed rather than content of the words. For example, say, "You're frightened and want to go home. It's ok. I'm right here with you."
- Don't argue with their person or try to correct. Instead reaffirm his/her experience, reassure and try to divert attention. For example, "The noise in this shelter is frightening. Let's see if we can find a quieter spot. Let's look at your photo book together."
Disasters & Wandering
- During a disaster situation, someone with dementia is confused and anxious, and the probability of wandering increases.
- Prepare wandering before a natural disaster occurs by enrolling the individual in MedicAlert+SafeReturn, Comfort Zone or Project Lifesaver. For more information contact us at, 800.272.3900.
- Because of the potential danger to the subject in a wandering incident, it is important to take action as soon as possible. Because of Silver Alert, first responders can begin searching for this individual immediately upon being reported.
- Often times a person with dementia will, in their mind, return to an earlier time in their life. This can result in a confusing situation for all parties involved, particularly because the person truly believes they are right. Don't argue, but reassure the person and assist with getting them to a safe place and/or in contact with a loved one or caregiver. Since the person may not remember where they now live, returning them safely can be a challenge.