Service Dogs Could Help Prevent Wandering in Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients
Because, as you age, knowing where you are can start to become a challenge
Unfortunately for many people suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s, getting to and from places isn’t always as simple as just looking around and knowing exactly where you are or where you’re headed. In fact, going somewhere that was once familiar can become a hassle as patients begin to age—and it can become painful for their loved ones watching them struggle to remember where they were going or where they are. That’s because Alzheimer’s and dementia are both progressive cognitive diseases that affect a person’s memory.
Enlist a four-legged friend
One creative solution for helping to combat this issue is partnering the patient with a trained service dog. Sure, you’ve heard of service dogs before. They’re a useful resource for the blind and deaf, assisting with keeping them safe and getting them the places they need to go. Likewise, service dogs might be able to help prevent wandering in patients suffering with those battles.
Psychology Today describes how these service dogs function as a safety measure for patients affected by Alzheimer’s or dementia stating, “These dogs do not work on a harness, the way that guide dogs for the blind do, but rather on a six-foot leash so that they can be out in front of the person and actually lead them in an appropriate direction”. The main task of the dementia service dog is to bring his patient home when the order “Home” is given.
If the patient forgets to give the order to return home, or is lost to the degree that he wanders far from the house and into an unfamiliar area, worried caretakers or family members are able to access electronic GPS navigation device that is installed on the dog’s collar. Certain GPS-equipped collars:
• Emit a recognizable tone which the dog interprets as an alternate command instructing him to lead his patient home
• Are connected to cellular devices
• Can be accessed by multiple family members, caretakers, nurses, etc.
More than a guide
On top of the companionship a service dog provides, service animals can also assist in the search and rescue of anyone who has wandered off. They are given a piece of the person’s clothing to smell, and are trained to find the person matching that scent. That worn item should be placed, unwashed, in a plastic bag to preserve the scent to aid the animal searching.
Alternate solutions for Alzheimer and Dementia patients
Not everyone can work with a service animal due to various issues, such as allergies, nursing home rules, or even a fear of animals. That’s why wandering prevention devices can be such an important component to a patient’s prevention routine. Featuring a 30-day battery life and trackable GPS features, these wearable devices are a surefire way to keep a patient safe and sound—and even if they do wander off, it won’t be long before you know exactly where they are.
Caring Solutions LLC is a provider of medical alert devices, medication dispensers, and related products for the purpose of providing extended care and peace of mind for the adult children and caregivers of the elderly. To learn more about the support, information, and products we offer, visit our website!