Safety Tips For Caregivers Of Dementia Sufferers

Reported by: Ellen Bryan
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Updated: 10/17/2012 11:34 pm

Safety Tips For Caregivers Of Dementia Sufferers

Within the past four days, three people were found in Central Kentucky after Golden Alerts were issued for their disappearance.

All three of these people suffer from dementia.

This is not the first time a Golden Alert has been connected to dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Marie Smart, a Social Worker for Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, said Alzheimer’s disease is where a person’s memory interferes with their ability to live day to day.

“One of the most difficult things to do is to recognize that that family member is having trouble,” Smart said.

She says as we get older we all forget some things. But the difference for a person who doesn’t have dementia will remember it later.

Some signs that Smart says can be used to test if someone might have Alzheimer’s:

  1. Memory – Thinking interfere with everyday functioning.
  2. Losing Items – Putting things away and can't find them anymore.
  3. Disoriented – Gets lost even in familiar areas.

Smart adds that people with dementia needs to keep busy. They need socialization and someone to regularly check-in on them. When they don’t have enough to do, that could lead to the Golden Alerts.

“In their minds, that's the right thing to do,” Smart said. “I'm sitting here, I have nothing to do. I need to go to the store. I need to go see my buddies at McDonald's. Then sometimes people end up miles and miles away from home.

Smart also encourages families to keep a recent photo of the person with dementia in case they would go missing.

For more on the services that The Sanders-Brown Center on Aging offers – like Memory Disorder Clinics and Research Clinics – visit their website at www.mc.uky.edu/coa/.

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