Parent Can't Find Their Way Home?
I came across this article in the news yesterday. It’s scary stuff. A man in northern New Jersey went missing on Wednesday, wandering out of his home. He was found, thank goodness, save and alive (if hungry and dehydrated) on Sunday. How could this happen?
People who have cognitive impairments like Alzheimer’s or other forms of demential lose spatial reasoning. They can’t find their way to and from landmarks that they once found familiar. That “muscle memory” of the path to the store becomes much more confusing on the way home. Or, someone will leave the house on a routine errand only to find halfway through the errand that they forgot what they were doing outside, and don’t know how to get back home. Eventually they may forget that they were ever lost in the first place.
If this happens to you, you’re in what I call “crisis mode” (when I’m trying to be polite). That’s the time most people come to see me. However, you’ll save yourself a lot of heartache if you can find a way to recognize the signs that an elder you’re caring for might have these symptoms now, before they go missing or something else tragic happens. We’re all caregivers at some point in our lives, and it’s a lot easier to face these issues head-on now than to wait for a close call to get legal protection and care resources in place in the home or elsewhere.
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