Advice for Alzheimer’s Caregivers in Indiana: Create a Wandering Kit
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Advice for Alzheimer’s Caregivers in Indiana: Create a Wandering Kit

February 3, 2015

Advice for Alzheimer’s Caregivers in Indiana: Create a Wandering Kit
When an aging parent or senior loved one in the Hoosier state has Alzheimer’s disease, safety is an on-going concern. Caregivers like you often know the frightening statistics about wandering: 60% of people who have Alzheimer’s disease will wander. Finding someone who becomes lost within the first 24 hours is critical for making a safe return home. This is especially true during an Indiana winter.
 
Planning for the worst case scenario is one of the best ways to keep your senior family member safe. That includes creating an Alzheimer’s Wandering Kit. Assembling it before you need it will save precious time if your Alzheimer’s loved one wanders.
 
How to Create an Alzheimer’s Wandering Kit
 
Having an Alzheimer’s Wandering Kit put together and ready to share helps Indiana’s emergency first responders get the search for your loved one started more quickly. It also provides the media with the information they need to get the word out in local communities.
 
Here are the items you should include in your kit:
  1. Recent Photos: Have updated photos of your senior loved one on hand. It is best to have a printed version as well as a digital one. A short video clip may also be helpful.
  2. Physical Description: Have a written description of your senior family member typed up and ready to distribute. It should include weight, height, hair color, and eye color. If your aging family member has distinguishing characteristics such as tattoos or birth marks include those as well.
  3. Medical History: Your Alzheimer’s Wandering Kit should also include their health conditions and medical history. Document their allergies, prescription and over-the-counter medications, health conditions and surgeries. Also make sure to include their physician’s name and contact information. In the event your loved one requires medical intervention when they are found, you want to make it as easy as possible for emergency personnel to have the information they need to safely treat them.
  4. Vehicle Description: If your senior loved one still drives, make sure you have a written description and photos of their car. Include the make, model, license plate number and vehicle identification number of their vehicle.
  5. Search Suggestions: While it may be a long shot, it might help if searchers have a list of places your family member may try to get to. It could be their former home, close loved one’s residences, a former employer, their church or synagogue or another place that is comfortable and familiar to them.
How to Distribute Your Alzheimer’s Wandering Kit
 
Once you have your information prepared, create several copies of it. Distribute them to close friends and family members who are involved in your loved one’s care. Keep a copy in your home so that any in-home caregivers can easily access it if you are away. Our final tip is to create a mobile version of your Alzheimer’s Wandering Kit to keep with you at all times.
 
To learn more about memory care programs and short-term respite for an Indiana senior, we invite you to call or visit the Five Star community nearest you today.