To help a person with dementia remain in the community, it is important that they know their way around as they are less likely to get lost.
Sage, the project advisory group of people with dementia used a number of strategies to prevent them from getting lost and these included:
1. Acknowledging that a ‘blank’ might occur when out walking. This could cause a feeling of panic and this may make the ‘blank’ worse. Re-establishing calmness and waiting for the blank to clear was helpful.
2. Knowing the best time of day to go out for a walk when least confused – this may be in the morning or the afternoon – what ever time of day is best for you.
3. Use a route that is familiar. Walk routes that you know well and are less likely to get confused by.
4. Ask people for help if you get lost. This may be once you remember what you want to ask.
5. Take time to work out and remember landmarks, and remind yourself about route. This may help later on.
6. Repetition and routine were seen as key to continuing to stay safe. Pick a good route and stick to it.
7. Carry information to help you remember – home address and a phone number to contact someone.
8. Carry information about how to use mobile phone and who to call. You might ask a helpful person to make the call for you.
9. Carry ‘in case of emergency’ contact cards
10. Wear a bracelet that identifies that you have a memory problem.
If you are offered some technology, give it a try and see if it works for you – you may like it and it may help.
We hope this helps you prepare to stay safe out walking.