Partnering with Your Doctor

Partnering with Your Loved One's Doctor

While caring for your loved one, there will be times that you will need to consult with your loved one’s physician for a variety of reasons. Visits to see a physician may be an overwhelming experience for your loved one and may cause anxiety, which can make the appointment not go so well. It is important that your appointments be as productive as possible so that you can get your questions answered and make the most of your time with the doctor. The following are tips that we hope will make future appointments less stressful and much more successful.

Preparing for the Appointment

Make the appointment at the best time of day for your loved one. Consider when waiting times might be shortest. Ask the person you schedule the appointment with what time of day the waiting room is least likely to be crowded.

Consider parking, office location, and how much time you’ll need to get to the appointment. If the distance from parking to waiting room is quite far, it might be easiest to bring a light-weight wheelchair to transport your loved one, rather than relying on their usual walker or cane. Or you might ask a friend, neighbor, or family member to drive, so you and your loved one can be dropped off at the front door. If the office is located in larger complex or hospital, valet parking might be available (just be sure to bring small bills to pay for the valet parking). Budget extra time, so you don’t have to rush.

There are a few things we recommend you bring with you to the appointment:

  • List of current medications – both prescription and over the counter. Be sure to include dosage, name of prescribing doctor, and a very brief explanation for why your loved one takes that medicine. We’ve included an example medication log. Feel free to use this form to record your loved one’s medication, or use it as a guideline to create your own:

Medication Log Word doc
Medication Log PDF

  • Medical history and list of diagnoses and allergies.
  • List of questions, concerns, and changes. If you write these things down as you notice them, you’ll be more likely to remember and bring it up during the appointment.
  • Something to write with and something to write on for note taking during the appointment. A lot can be discussed during a doctor’s appointment. It may be difficult to remember everything. Take notes, so you won’t have to worry about trying to remember all that is said.

During the Appointment

Set a tone of respect. Include your loved one in the conversation. Your loved one wants and needs to feel respected and included. If you address your loved one with respect, any health professionals you encounter may be more inclined to follow your example.

Along those same lines, don’t talk about your loved as if he or she isn’t there. It can feel like you are tattling and create bad feelings. Instead, prepare a brief yet descriptive list of concerns and give it to the receptionist with a note for it to be given to the doctor before the appointment. The doctor won’t read 3 pages, so prioritize. Keep it to one page. Use bullet points. You can also excuse yourself to the restroom to very briefly talk with a nurse in the hallway.

Note any changes that have occurred and any new symptoms, and be specific. Instead of saying, “He hasn’t been sleeping well;” say, “For the past two weeks, he has been sleeping about 3 hours each night. When he isn’t sleeping, he paces around the house.”

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to ask for explanations. You are the best advocate for your loved one and yourself.

  • If you don’t understand a term, ask for clarification.
  • If a doctor orders a test, and you don’t understand why, ask for the doctor to explain the test and why it was ordered. Ask for copies of test results.
  • If medication is prescribed, ask about side effects, how long the doctor expects your loved one to be taking that medication, how long the medicine will take to start working, what to do if the medicine doesn’t work.
  • And lastly, ask when the next appointment should be.

After the Appointment

Follow the doctor’s recommendations. If a doctor asks you to try a new medication or make an appointment with a specialist, etc., really try to follow his or her instructions.

If you have questions or are seeking advice on your specific situation, Sheri Wammack, our Social Worker and Admission Coordinator is available to answer your questions (phone: 901.854.1200 Ext. 14, email: sheri@pagerobbins.org). If there are topics about which you would like to see future blog posts, email Katie (katie@pagerobbins.org) with your ideas.


Benefits of Adult Day Services for Caregivers

Earlier in May, the Commercial Appeal and other local newspapers featured a wonderful article on the benefits of adult day services for caregivers. The article references a study conducted by researchers at Penn State and the University of Texas at Austin. This study found that, on days their loved one participated in an adult day program, caregivers showed increased levels of a hormone that fights off the negative effects of stress and is associated with better health. You can read more about that research here on Penn State’s website.

This research tells what we have long known: that adult day programs are beneficial for those with memory loss, the frail elderly, AND their caregivers. If you didn’t get to read the Commercial Appeal article, we’ve linked a downloadable pdf of it below:

Read the Commercial Appeal article.

We hope that you’re encouraged by the good things going on at Page Robbins and in other adult day programs and that you will tell someone about these good things. Many don’t know that adult day programs exist. Seize the day, spread the word, and help us provide hope and happy days by sharing with others.


Safeguarding Against Falls

Fall Prevention

Unfortunately, falls are common and frightening for the one who falls as well as for caregivers. The elderly are at a greater risk for falls than other age groups due to frailty, side effects of some prescription medications, such as sedatives, and mobility issues. The CDC reports that 1 in 3 adults over the age of 65 fall each year (as cited in CDC, 2013).

Common causes of falls include ill-fitting shoes, wet floors, rugs, thresholds, beds or chairs that are too high, poor lighting, poor vision, and shuffling or unsteady gait. Previous falls are also a risk factor for future falls. Falls can lead to weakness, injury, and anxiety over the possibility of falling, which can then lead to a pattern of multiple falls.

Although some falls can be prevented, no one can totally prevent them. It is impossible to watch your loved one 24/7. Don’t feel guilty. Accidents happen. Prevent what you can. The following are tips on safeguarding against falls and steps to take when falls occur. We offer these suggestions in the hope that some falls can be prevented and that caregivers can be prepared for any falls that do occur.

If you have questions or are seeking advice on your specific situation, Sheri Wammack, our Social Worker and Admission Coordinator is available to answer your questions (phone: 901.854.1200 Ext. 14, email: sheri@pagerobbins.org).

Safeguarding Against Falls

  • When your loved one is moving from place to place, be patient. You can be more alert to potential fall risks when moving at a reasonable pace.
  • Ensure that your loved one’s shoes fit properly with all-around support and good traction. Shoes with backs are best. Avoid walking in house shoes and socks.
  • Have your loved one’s vision checked annually. Dementia affects depth perception, so if your loved one has dementia, know that he or she might have difficulty distinguishing between the wooden floor, wooden stairs, and brown rug. Contrasting colors may help your loved one see different objects more clearly.
  • Free walkways of clutter. Cords, magazine racks, shoes or other items left on the floor are potential tripping hazards. Clean up spills quickly.
  • Make sure walkways have proper lighting. Put night lights in your hallway and bathroom in case your loved one has to get up during the night.
  • Consider installing raised toilet seats and/or hand rails in bathrooms. Also, fit slippery tub and shower surfaces with no-slip bath mats.
  • Get rid of unnecessary throw rugs or ensure that they are properly secured to the ground with tape or no-slip backing.
  • Make sure walking paths are lined with sturdy furniture that can be used to anchor and balance those who may become unsteady on their feet. No rolling chairs.
  • If your loved one is unsteady on their feet, consider the use of a cane or walker. If possible, borrow one before purchasing or ordering to ensure that the cane or walker actually helps your loved one to move more steadily. If your loved one is at a high risk for falls, consider use of a wheelchair.

Steps to Take if a Fall Occurs

  • Don’t rush to get your loved one up. It may be wise, if you are able to sit on the ground and get up fairly easily, to train yourself to stop and sit down by your loved one after they fall. You may be better able to calmly assess the situation and to reassure your loved one if you are on the floor with them.
  • If the individual who has fallen does not seem to be hurting, you can try to get them up. Facial expressions are often a good indicator of pain level if your loved one is unable to communicate.
  • If the person who has fallen resists sitting up or seems to be in pain, you may want to consider seeking medical help. Severity and place of possible injury should be considered. For example, complications caused by head injury may take several days to surface.
  • Clean any skin tears and apply antibacterial ointment.
  • If you have to call emergency services, leave your loved one on the ground. Moving them may further aggravate any injuries. Have a list of their medications handy in case requested.

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Home and Recreational Safety: Falls. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Falls/adultfalls.html


Overcoming Personal Care Challenges

Manicure Thursday

For those with dementia, personal care routines, such as nail clipping, bathing, dressing, and eating, that were once simple are no longer so. These activities of daily living are a process, with steps to follow and decisions to be made. Because individuals with dementia are not able to understand the steps needed to complete a task, personal care can be challenging.

Someone with dementia may resist help with bathing or may refuse to brush their teeth, and for caregivers who are trying to make sure that their loved one is happy and properly taken care of, this resistance can be frustrating.

If you, as a caregiver, have faced challenges in providing personal care for your loved one, we hope that you will find the following suggestions helpful. If you have questions or are seeking advice on your specific situation, Sheri Wammack, our Social Worker and Admission Coordinator is available to answer your questions (phone: 854.1200 Ext. 14, email: sheri@pagerobbins.org).

  • Give clear, step-by-step directions. Simplicity is best. Break down the process into parts, giving instructions one step at a time. For example, instead of saying, “Get dressed,” say: “Put your underwear on.” “Put your socks on.”
  • Use both verbal and physical cues. In other words, tell with your voice and show with actions. If you would like for your loved one to sit down, it may be easiest for you to tell him, “We are going to sit down,” and then to sit down with him.
  • Limit distractions. Once your loved one is distracted, it may be difficult to bring their attention back to the task at hand. Have what you’ll need ready beforehand. Have clothes laid out in the order they are to be put on. Also, give your loved one simple choices to help her maintain a sense of independence. Instead of having her choose from the whole closet for an outfit, pull out two shirts and have her choose between the two.

    Limit the number of choices on the bathroom counter and in the shower or tub. Tubes of ointment, such as Neosporin or denture cream, can easily be mistaken for toothpaste, so put these extra items in a drawer or medicine cabinet and have only the toothpaste easily accessible.

  • Catch them at their best time. For a majority of our clients, that time is the morning because they are well rested, but for your loved one, that time may be different. You might try following their regular routine. If they have taken a shower at night for the past 40 years, try bathing at night.
  • Don’t ask. When you ask, you give your loved one an opportunity to say no, and if they say no, how will you respond? You must make the decision for them. Instead of asking, use a positive tone of voice and say, “We need to…,” or “We are going to….”
  • Don’t argue. Your loved one may be living in their own reality, and arguing is pointless because you will lose every time.
  • Learn to pick your battles. Save the “No’s” for when they really matter. For example, Mother wants to wear sweat pants to Sunday morning service. Does it really matter if she does this? Will it compromise her safety or well-being? On the other hand, Dad wants the keys to the car so he can drive again. Will this compromise his safety or well-being? Think about what is truly important.
  • Validate their feelings. If your loved one refuses care, it may mean that they are scared, that they don’t understand what you are asking, that they don’t feel good, or that the task you are asking them to complete is painful. Know that they are not trying to be difficult. Take a step back from the situation to see what might be causing their resistance.

    Often, a spouse may not recognize their caregiver as their husband or wife. The person living with dementia may believe themselves to be much younger. If this is their reality, it is more understandable if they don’t want to disrobe in front of an older man or woman – no matter how nice they are to them.

  • Be patient. Patience is key. If what you’re doing isn’t working, step away. Assess the situation, and re-approach at a later time. If your loved one is refusing to brush her teeth, shift attention to another part of her care routine such as combing her hair or putting lotion on her hands. After you’ve done these things, try re-approaching the situation with new verbal and physical cues.

If you have a specific topic about which you would like to see a future blog post, let us know by emailing Katie at katie@pagerobbins.org.


Keeping Your Loved One Safe and Sound from Wandering

All too frequently we hear a media report about an individual with some form of dementia being lost. The family will often report that they were planning to take away his car keys, or that she had never wandered away before….

The best advice I can give to you is that wandering and disorientation will likely happen.  And if it has ever happened once, it will happen again – and again.

Here are our ‘tips’ for you.

  • If you even remotely suspect that an individual should no longer drive, make that decision and take the keys/sell the car – whatever to keep them from behind the wheel now. Not after an accident or an unplanned trip has occurred.
  • Be certain that your loved one has identification on. That can be something as simple as a name/address/phone number inside a coat, to a laminated card in their pocket, or a MedicAlert or SafeReturn bracelet. If your loved one carries a cell phone, make certain that the location signal is on. They may be able to self-identify under normal circumstances, but will likely have difficulty if they are afraid, stressed, or hurt.
  • Share with your neighbors that your loved one has difficulties and share your telephone number with them, just in case.
  • The Collierville Police Department has told us that the minute you believe that your loved one has wandered away to call them. It is so much easier for the police to locate someone when the ‘dot’ on the map is small rather than 3 hours later after you have exhausted your efforts and now the dot is miles and miles wide. I’m certain other police departments feel the same way.
  • You can put wireless alarms on your doors with equipment from the local hardware store that is simple to install and is battery operated. We did this when my mother lived with us to alert when she was moving in the hallway and also if a door was opened.

Be safe and cautious rather than sorry.

If you have additional situations about which you are seeking advice, ideas for future blog posts that you would like to see, or specific questions, give us a call at 901-854-1200, drop by, or send us an email (katie@pagerobbins.org), and we’ll do our best to assist you.

Written by: Herbie Krisle, Executive Director


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  • June 26, 2014

    Partnering with Your Doctor

    Partnering with Your Loved One's Doctor

    While caring for your loved one, there will be times that you will need to consult with your loved one’s physician for a variety of reasons. Visits to see a physician may be an overwhelming experience for your loved one and may cause anxiety, which can make the appointment not go so well. It is important that your appointments be as productive as possible so that you can get your questions answered and make the most of your time with the doctor. The following are tips that we hope will make future appointments less stressful and much more successful.

    Preparing for the Appointment

    Make the appointment at the best time of day for your loved one. Consider when waiting times might be shortest. Ask the person you schedule the appointment with what time of day the waiting room is least likely to be crowded.

    Consider parking, office location, and how much time you’ll need to get to the appointment. If the distance from parking to waiting room is quite far, it might be easiest to bring a light-weight wheelchair to transport your loved one, rather than relying on their usual walker or cane. Or you might ask a friend, neighbor, or family member to drive, so you and your loved one can be dropped off at the front door. If the office is located in larger complex or hospital, valet parking might be available (just be sure to bring small bills to pay for the valet parking). Budget extra time, so you don’t have to rush.

    There are a few things we recommend you bring with you to the appointment:

    • List of current medications – both prescription and over the counter. Be sure to include dosage, name of prescribing doctor, and a very brief explanation for why your loved one takes that medicine. We’ve included an example medication log. Feel free to use this form to record your loved one’s medication, or use it as a guideline to create your own:

    Medication Log Word doc
    Medication Log PDF

    • Medical history and list of diagnoses and allergies.
    • List of questions, concerns, and changes. If you write these things down as you notice them, you’ll be more likely to remember and bring it up during the appointment.
    • Something to write with and something to write on for note taking during the appointment. A lot can be discussed during a doctor’s appointment. It may be difficult to remember everything. Take notes, so you won’t have to worry about trying to remember all that is said.

    During the Appointment

    Set a tone of respect. Include your loved one in the conversation. Your loved one wants and needs to feel respected and included. If you address your loved one with respect, any health professionals you encounter may be more inclined to follow your example.

    Along those same lines, don’t talk about your loved as if he or she isn’t there. It can feel like you are tattling and create bad feelings. Instead, prepare a brief yet descriptive list of concerns and give it to the receptionist with a note for it to be given to the doctor before the appointment. The doctor won’t read 3 pages, so prioritize. Keep it to one page. Use bullet points. You can also excuse yourself to the restroom to very briefly talk with a nurse in the hallway.

    Note any changes that have occurred and any new symptoms, and be specific. Instead of saying, “He hasn’t been sleeping well;” say, “For the past two weeks, he has been sleeping about 3 hours each night. When he isn’t sleeping, he paces around the house.”

    Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to ask for explanations. You are the best advocate for your loved one and yourself.

    • If you don’t understand a term, ask for clarification.
    • If a doctor orders a test, and you don’t understand why, ask for the doctor to explain the test and why it was ordered. Ask for copies of test results.
    • If medication is prescribed, ask about side effects, how long the doctor expects your loved one to be taking that medication, how long the medicine will take to start working, what to do if the medicine doesn’t work.
    • And lastly, ask when the next appointment should be.

    After the Appointment

    Follow the doctor’s recommendations. If a doctor asks you to try a new medication or make an appointment with a specialist, etc., really try to follow his or her instructions.

    If you have questions or are seeking advice on your specific situation, Sheri Wammack, our Social Worker and Admission Coordinator is available to answer your questions (phone: 901.854.1200 Ext. 14, email: sheri@pagerobbins.org). If there are topics about which you would like to see future blog posts, email Katie (katie@pagerobbins.org) with your ideas.


    May 21, 2014

    Benefits of Adult Day Services for Caregivers

    Earlier in May, the Commercial Appeal and other local newspapers featured a wonderful article on the benefits of adult day services for caregivers. The article references a study conducted by researchers at Penn State and the University of Texas at Austin. This study found that, on days their loved one participated in an adult day program, caregivers showed increased levels of a hormone that fights off the negative effects of stress and is associated with better health. You can read more about that research here on Penn State’s website.

    This research tells what we have long known: that adult day programs are beneficial for those with memory loss, the frail elderly, AND their caregivers. If you didn’t get to read the Commercial Appeal article, we’ve linked a downloadable pdf of it below:

    Read the Commercial Appeal article.

    We hope that you’re encouraged by the good things going on at Page Robbins and in other adult day programs and that you will tell someone about these good things. Many don’t know that adult day programs exist. Seize the day, spread the word, and help us provide hope and happy days by sharing with others.


    May 2, 2014

    Safeguarding Against Falls

    Fall Prevention

    Unfortunately, falls are common and frightening for the one who falls as well as for caregivers. The elderly are at a greater risk for falls than other age groups due to frailty, side effects of some prescription medications, such as sedatives, and mobility issues. The CDC reports that 1 in 3 adults over the age of 65 fall each year (as cited in CDC, 2013).

    Common causes of falls include ill-fitting shoes, wet floors, rugs, thresholds, beds or chairs that are too high, poor lighting, poor vision, and shuffling or unsteady gait. Previous falls are also a risk factor for future falls. Falls can lead to weakness, injury, and anxiety over the possibility of falling, which can then lead to a pattern of multiple falls.

    Although some falls can be prevented, no one can totally prevent them. It is impossible to watch your loved one 24/7. Don’t feel guilty. Accidents happen. Prevent what you can. The following are tips on safeguarding against falls and steps to take when falls occur. We offer these suggestions in the hope that some falls can be prevented and that caregivers can be prepared for any falls that do occur.

    If you have questions or are seeking advice on your specific situation, Sheri Wammack, our Social Worker and Admission Coordinator is available to answer your questions (phone: 901.854.1200 Ext. 14, email: sheri@pagerobbins.org).

    Safeguarding Against Falls

    • When your loved one is moving from place to place, be patient. You can be more alert to potential fall risks when moving at a reasonable pace.
    • Ensure that your loved one’s shoes fit properly with all-around support and good traction. Shoes with backs are best. Avoid walking in house shoes and socks.
    • Have your loved one’s vision checked annually. Dementia affects depth perception, so if your loved one has dementia, know that he or she might have difficulty distinguishing between the wooden floor, wooden stairs, and brown rug. Contrasting colors may help your loved one see different objects more clearly.
    • Free walkways of clutter. Cords, magazine racks, shoes or other items left on the floor are potential tripping hazards. Clean up spills quickly.
    • Make sure walkways have proper lighting. Put night lights in your hallway and bathroom in case your loved one has to get up during the night.
    • Consider installing raised toilet seats and/or hand rails in bathrooms. Also, fit slippery tub and shower surfaces with no-slip bath mats.
    • Get rid of unnecessary throw rugs or ensure that they are properly secured to the ground with tape or no-slip backing.
    • Make sure walking paths are lined with sturdy furniture that can be used to anchor and balance those who may become unsteady on their feet. No rolling chairs.
    • If your loved one is unsteady on their feet, consider the use of a cane or walker. If possible, borrow one before purchasing or ordering to ensure that the cane or walker actually helps your loved one to move more steadily. If your loved one is at a high risk for falls, consider use of a wheelchair.

    Steps to Take if a Fall Occurs

    • Don’t rush to get your loved one up. It may be wise, if you are able to sit on the ground and get up fairly easily, to train yourself to stop and sit down by your loved one after they fall. You may be better able to calmly assess the situation and to reassure your loved one if you are on the floor with them.
    • If the individual who has fallen does not seem to be hurting, you can try to get them up. Facial expressions are often a good indicator of pain level if your loved one is unable to communicate.
    • If the person who has fallen resists sitting up or seems to be in pain, you may want to consider seeking medical help. Severity and place of possible injury should be considered. For example, complications caused by head injury may take several days to surface.
    • Clean any skin tears and apply antibacterial ointment.
    • If you have to call emergency services, leave your loved one on the ground. Moving them may further aggravate any injuries. Have a list of their medications handy in case requested.

    References

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Home and Recreational Safety: Falls. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Falls/adultfalls.html


    March 24, 2014

    Overcoming Personal Care Challenges

    Manicure Thursday

    For those with dementia, personal care routines, such as nail clipping, bathing, dressing, and eating, that were once simple are no longer so. These activities of daily living are a process, with steps to follow and decisions to be made. Because individuals with dementia are not able to understand the steps needed to complete a task, personal care can be challenging.

    Someone with dementia may resist help with bathing or may refuse to brush their teeth, and for caregivers who are trying to make sure that their loved one is happy and properly taken care of, this resistance can be frustrating.

    If you, as a caregiver, have faced challenges in providing personal care for your loved one, we hope that you will find the following suggestions helpful. If you have questions or are seeking advice on your specific situation, Sheri Wammack, our Social Worker and Admission Coordinator is available to answer your questions (phone: 854.1200 Ext. 14, email: sheri@pagerobbins.org).

    • Give clear, step-by-step directions. Simplicity is best. Break down the process into parts, giving instructions one step at a time. For example, instead of saying, “Get dressed,” say: “Put your underwear on.” “Put your socks on.”
    • Use both verbal and physical cues. In other words, tell with your voice and show with actions. If you would like for your loved one to sit down, it may be easiest for you to tell him, “We are going to sit down,” and then to sit down with him.
    • Limit distractions. Once your loved one is distracted, it may be difficult to bring their attention back to the task at hand. Have what you’ll need ready beforehand. Have clothes laid out in the order they are to be put on. Also, give your loved one simple choices to help her maintain a sense of independence. Instead of having her choose from the whole closet for an outfit, pull out two shirts and have her choose between the two.

      Limit the number of choices on the bathroom counter and in the shower or tub. Tubes of ointment, such as Neosporin or denture cream, can easily be mistaken for toothpaste, so put these extra items in a drawer or medicine cabinet and have only the toothpaste easily accessible.

    • Catch them at their best time. For a majority of our clients, that time is the morning because they are well rested, but for your loved one, that time may be different. You might try following their regular routine. If they have taken a shower at night for the past 40 years, try bathing at night.
    • Don’t ask. When you ask, you give your loved one an opportunity to say no, and if they say no, how will you respond? You must make the decision for them. Instead of asking, use a positive tone of voice and say, “We need to…,” or “We are going to….”
    • Don’t argue. Your loved one may be living in their own reality, and arguing is pointless because you will lose every time.
    • Learn to pick your battles. Save the “No’s” for when they really matter. For example, Mother wants to wear sweat pants to Sunday morning service. Does it really matter if she does this? Will it compromise her safety or well-being? On the other hand, Dad wants the keys to the car so he can drive again. Will this compromise his safety or well-being? Think about what is truly important.
    • Validate their feelings. If your loved one refuses care, it may mean that they are scared, that they don’t understand what you are asking, that they don’t feel good, or that the task you are asking them to complete is painful. Know that they are not trying to be difficult. Take a step back from the situation to see what might be causing their resistance.

      Often, a spouse may not recognize their caregiver as their husband or wife. The person living with dementia may believe themselves to be much younger. If this is their reality, it is more understandable if they don’t want to disrobe in front of an older man or woman – no matter how nice they are to them.

    • Be patient. Patience is key. If what you’re doing isn’t working, step away. Assess the situation, and re-approach at a later time. If your loved one is refusing to brush her teeth, shift attention to another part of her care routine such as combing her hair or putting lotion on her hands. After you’ve done these things, try re-approaching the situation with new verbal and physical cues.

    If you have a specific topic about which you would like to see a future blog post, let us know by emailing Katie at katie@pagerobbins.org.


    February 17, 2014

    Keeping Your Loved One Safe and Sound from Wandering

    All too frequently we hear a media report about an individual with some form of dementia being lost. The family will often report that they were planning to take away his car keys, or that she had never wandered away before….

    The best advice I can give to you is that wandering and disorientation will likely happen.  And if it has ever happened once, it will happen again – and again.

    Here are our ‘tips’ for you.

    • If you even remotely suspect that an individual should no longer drive, make that decision and take the keys/sell the car – whatever to keep them from behind the wheel now. Not after an accident or an unplanned trip has occurred.
    • Be certain that your loved one has identification on. That can be something as simple as a name/address/phone number inside a coat, to a laminated card in their pocket, or a MedicAlert or SafeReturn bracelet. If your loved one carries a cell phone, make certain that the location signal is on. They may be able to self-identify under normal circumstances, but will likely have difficulty if they are afraid, stressed, or hurt.
    • Share with your neighbors that your loved one has difficulties and share your telephone number with them, just in case.
    • The Collierville Police Department has told us that the minute you believe that your loved one has wandered away to call them. It is so much easier for the police to locate someone when the ‘dot’ on the map is small rather than 3 hours later after you have exhausted your efforts and now the dot is miles and miles wide. I’m certain other police departments feel the same way.
    • You can put wireless alarms on your doors with equipment from the local hardware store that is simple to install and is battery operated. We did this when my mother lived with us to alert when she was moving in the hallway and also if a door was opened.

    Be safe and cautious rather than sorry.

    If you have additional situations about which you are seeking advice, ideas for future blog posts that you would like to see, or specific questions, give us a call at 901-854-1200, drop by, or send us an email (katie@pagerobbins.org), and we’ll do our best to assist you.

    Written by: Herbie Krisle, Executive Director