Written By : Denis Ashauer
For adult children the recognition of dementia can either be a slow process or it can be “WOW! Things have changed!” This coupled with honoring the loved ones wishes about staying at home can create a dilemma.
For those who are physically close to the person affected with dementia it can be hard to recognize the progress of the disease. The progress of the disease is generally slow and the day-to-day changes are slight. Some people get caught up in the denial approach where one would rather look the other way and rationalize the changes as “just aging”.
The “WOW! Things have changed” usually comes from someone who has been absent and re-enters into a person’s life only to realize the significant changes in their loved one’s ability to manage daily activities.
It is difficult to determine when a person affected with dementia should be placed in a memory center. The level of care the person is receiving and/or requires along with safety play a major role in this determination. In the event that everything is
going well and the affected person is not in danger at home, there are certain precautions that should be taken to prevent a major crisis. Most people wait until a major incident has happened before taking action which may result in harm, even death to their loved one.
Wandering is a common symptom of the disease and can take place at any time.
Dementia does not have a pattern for one to follow and changes can happen quickly with no indicators. It is not uncommon for the person to flee when the spouse is napping or asleep for the night. A few suggestions would be:
- ID tags should be sewn into the person’s clothing. In the event the person is found, this can help public officials return the person back home. Your local Alzheimer’s Association has a “safe return” program to help out in this area.
- Report to the local police department the address of your loved one and the disease. A patrol officer could identify your loved one and then return them back home.
- Install door alarms that will sound if the door is opened when activated. Local hardware stores or security stores will have these alarms.
- Place a stop sign on exit doors
- Obtain a DNA kit from the local police department and preserve a sample. In the event the person is confused or in the case of death this can be used to identify the person.
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