Waywards Alzheimer patients…

I asked for some tips on dealing with wandering behavior for Alzheimers patients without using restraints…one kind OT, Terri, gave some good ideas that have worked for her, but won’t necessarily work with everyone. For legal reasons, take everything with a grain of salt and don’t sue me or AOTA, okay? 🙂

Common reasons for wandering:

Resident is bored

Resident is looking for a way to leave or get home

Felling hungry or thirsty

Needing to go to the bathroom

Feeling anxious or afraid


The goal is to keep these patients safe and out of other individuals’
rooms who may be sleeping or not appreciate the “intruder” as well as
to make sure they are properly engaged in meaningful activities as able.

1- Involve in physical or movement activities (dancing, exercise, parachute activities)

2- Set up a “wandering trail” with interesting things to stop look at
and/or do long away 3- Normalization activities: sorting jewelry or
stocks; tying laces; untying or unknotting socks; sorting and folding
laundry; sweeping; testing

4- Set up “comfort” areas (chair, pillows, couch, music playing, things to look at) that draw resident in to rest

5- To keep the resident out of areas that may be unsafe try using
large, colorful signs such as: Detour – Do Not Open – Men Only (for a
female wanderer) – Women Only (for a male wanderer) – Danger – Out Of
Order – Sometimes it may work well to actually personalize the sign
with the resident’s name, such as “John, Do Not Open This Door”

6- As you approach a person to try to redirect them out of an area use
a calm tone, converse about topics of interest to them while walking
with them and then as you gain their trust, gently lead them back into
a more appropriate area.

7- Make sure the person’s basic needs are met, ie, that they are not
looking for food, water, or the bathroom. Sometimes you can ask them
what they are looking for

8- Use sensory stimulation experiences

9- Utilize gliders and /or rocking chairs

Mar 30, 2008 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 2

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