NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 11,000 people in North Dakota 65 and older suffer from Alzheimer’s.
There are risks associated with most medical conditions, but with Alzheimer’s, we don’t always see those risks.
Experts say wandering away is something those with Alzheimer’s or dementia can do. So, how do we stop this from happening?
Some tips include reassuring them if they feel lost, assessing their response to new surroundings, and having them help with everyday tasks.
“If a person has a tendency to wander at a certain time, distract them ahead of time. Maybe it is a person who worked in a financial institution and every morning this person walked out of the door at 8 o clock to get to the office. Okay, let’s put a ledger in front of them at breakfast so they can start working right there. So they won’t have that feeling I need to get out the door to get to work,” said Beth Olson, a program manager at Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota-North Dakota.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, you can also install warning bells when doors are opened and create indoor and outdoor common areas.
Basically, you have to keep their mind active and redirect them constantly.
Kyle Olson says his dad passed away from Alzheimer’s five years ago and he would often wander.
“You know he was going out and wanting to go to the farm or something like that we would say he now is not a good time. How about we go over and watch some TV? Or how about we make a phone call or something like that. It was just different ways of redirecting him instead of him wandering because we knew if he was going to wander we wouldn’t know exactly where it was going to be,” said Kyle Olson, a realtor.
Beth Olson says Alzheimer’s progresses a lot faster for people who get the diagnosis under the age of 65.
Kyle says he wants to let people know they are not alone.
“Once I got into the Alzheimer’s Association, I attended a walk and realized there are thousands of people here in town that have gone through this. Millions of people across the country it was really eye-opening to realize there was help out there. There were people out there who have gone through the same things, that there are people out there who had ideas on how to redirect him or how to provide better care for him,” said Kyle.
Also caring for someone with this disease can take a toll on the family and the caregiver.
Some early signs of dementia according to the Alzheimer’s Association are changes in mood and personality and memory loss that disrupts daily life.