CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The Alzheimer’s Association warns caregivers to be extra watchful those suffering from the disease do not go wandering off in this frigid weather.
“I always tell people just because it hasn’t happened doesn’t mean it won’t,” said Karen Tennyson, the Alzheimer’s Association Manager of Care Navigation and Early Stage Engagement.
Tennyson said wandering off is not uncommon for people living with Alzheimer’s and that it can be especially concerning when weather is as brutal and dangerous as it’s been the last couple of weeks.
“About 60 percent of people who have Alzheimer’s disease, at some point during the course of their disease, do wander,” she said.
Tennyson said some of the ways to reduce the chances for wandering include keeping a set routine for the person, avoid busy places like shopping centers which can cause confusion, and reducing fluid intake at night to limit getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.
Tennyson also said using baby monitors or alarms near doors can be helpful at alerting caregivers when someone with Alzheimer’s may be about to wander from home.
More than 220,000 people in Illinois live with Alzheimer’s.
Should someone you know with Alzheimer’s go missing, especially in colder temperatures, experts recommend calling 911 as soon as possible so that an Illinois Silver Search advisory or other public notification can be issued. In addition, a report should be filed with MedicAlert+ Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return by calling, (800)-625-3780. For more information about the Illinois Silver Search program, visit silversearchillinois.org.