Wander walking is something carers struggle to accept as a positive activity for those of us living with dementia. Why do people with dementia get labelled as ‘wander’ walkers when everyone else in society simply ‘walks’? Maybe someone out there could enlighten me.
I’ve spoken to many carers who quote this as being one of the most challenging and stressful symptoms of those with dementia – the person simply walks aimlessly at any time of day or night. Carers have to go searching and police can be involved as the safety of the person is often a cause for concern.
It must be very traumatic for those carers who have the continuing worry that this might happen. Drugs are often used to sedate those with dementia to stop them walking.
From the point of view of someone with dementia, I love walking. If anyone tried to stop me walking, no matter how aimlessly it appeared, I’d be very sad and unhappy. Walking brings contentment and I imagine it has a similar impact on those in the later stages of dementia.
Using physical or chemical restraints isn’t the right answer. Sarah, my daughter, has worked in a home for those with dementia and the home was built in a circle with a circular walkway. The residents can walk to their hearts content, all day if they wish, round and round. They never get lost, they’re happy and relatives and staff know they’re in a safe environment. Such a simple example of developing a way of solving a problem rather than preventing an enjoyable activity.
Could all you creative, innovative researchers out there invent something very quickly for those who still live in their own homes please. I may need it sooner rather than later – who knows! I’m sure there must be some technology out there that someone could develop – maybe a GPS implant so my daughters always know where I am – on second thoughts, maybe not………….Seriously though, a life without walking is no life at all.