An article in the San Jose Mercury News discusses Alzheimer’s disease and how it has changed over the past 20 years. Since 1980 the amount of Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease has doubled from 2.8 million to 5.3 million. Currently, 42 percent of those over the age of 85 will develop Alzheimer’s.
This article opened with a story about a son who came home to find that his mother had escaped the house and was wondering around the neighborhood. Police agencies are now training officers how to detect and search for wanderers with dementia, as wandering is one of the most common behaviors associated with the disease.
About 60 percent of those that have dementia have wandered and about 20 percent wander repeatedly. Many people with dementia do not recognize objects and try to go to a place from a past memory that many times no longer actually exists.
The man featured in this story said that he changed his sleep schedule to follow his mother’s, even if it was in the middle of the day. He also sought advice from experts who told him to hang a curtain over the window at night to disguise and hide it. Other advice offered was to put a medical bracelet on his mother’s wrist with his home phone number on it in case she was to wander out of the house.
As more people are living longer, dealing with dementia and recognizing the signs are becoming more and more important. Learning different ways to decrease wandering behavior among those with Alzheimer and Dementia will be imperative to their safety and your peace of mind.