New alert system for Anchorage, Mat-Su families
Let your network know someone is wandering
One of the worst scenarios for families caring for someone living with Alzheimer’s disease is a loved one wandering or getting lost. It causes immediate panic and concern, and unfortunately happens all too often. In fact, nearly 50 percent of some of these family members have experienced a loved one with Alzheimer’s wandering or getting lost, according to a new survey conducted by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network. Of those, nearly one in five called the police for assistance. To help families keep their loved ones safe, the Home Instead Senior Care network has launched a free tool, the Missing Senior Network, now available in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley.
Found at http://www.MissingSeniorNetwork.com, the platform enables family caregivers to alert a network of friends, family and businesses to be on the lookout for a missing senior. The service provides a way to alert the network of a missing senior via text or email. Families can also choose to post an alert to the Home Instead Remember for Alzheimer’s Facebook page, connected to 270,000 followers.
“These frightening occurrences lead families to call our office and ask for help,” said Stacee Frost Kleinsmith, franchise owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office in Anchorage. “This resource was created to help Anchorage area families understand the risk of wandering and have a tool that empowers them to quickly take action if a loved one living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia wanders.”
The Missing Senior Network is part of Home Instead Senior Care network’s new Prevent Wandering program, which includes resources such as insight into what may trigger wandering events, steps families can take to help keep their loved ones safe, and tips on what to do if a wandering event occurs.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, anyone living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia is at risk of wandering.
“Wandering can happen at any time, and not just on foot ─ someone in a car or even a wheelchair could wander,” said Monica Moreno, director of Early Stage Initiatives for the Alzheimer’s Association. “A person may want to go back to a former job he or she had, even though that job may no longer exist. Or, someone may have a personal need that must be met. There’s always a purpose and intent. It’s just a matter of identifying the triggers.”
Family caregivers should be aware of the following common triggers that may cause someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia to wander:
• Delusions or hallucinations. Those living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia may misinterpret sights or sounds, causing them to feel fearful and wander to escape their environment.
• Overstimulation. People with dementia can become easily upset in noisy or crowded environments, triggering them to look for an escape from the chaos.
• Fatigue, especially during late afternoons and evenings. They may become tired, causing restless pacing and, eventually, wandering.
• Disorientation to place and time. Individuals may not recognize they are home and seek to return to a familiar place, such as a former workplace.
• Change in routine. People with dementia may become confused following a change of routine, wandering in an effort to return to a familiar place.
For additional tips and program resources, visit http://www.PreventWandering.com, or contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office serving Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley to learn how family caregivers can help prevent and respond to wandering. You can find an office near you by visiting http://www.homeinstead.com/Alaska.
To access the Missing Senior Network, visit http://www.MissingSeniorNetwork.com.