Elopement Serves as Most Dangerous Type of Wandering During Winter Months
Several U.S. states either just encountered or are preparing for one of the most intense artic cold blasts in the last decade. Extreme weather events like this can greatly impact nursing home residents who are at risk of wandering outside of a care facility or eloping, a dangerous form of wandering. The Illinois Alzheimer’s Association says wandering represents one of many behavioral problems occurring in 6 out of 10 people living with Alzheimer’s across the state. These people tend to wander and aimlessly move about their environment without regard of their personal safety. During the cold weather seasons, nursing home administrators and care staff, as well as family members, should ensure these residents and loved ones stay safe and are prevented from wandering outdoors, especially when extreme temperature changes are present.
The National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners reports the most dangerous type of wandering, called elopement, occurs when a patient attempts to completely leave the nursing home and wander outside. This is a difficult type of wandering to confront, as patients may be unable to grasp the situation and understand the actual surroundings and environmental risks. Patients are often hurt or killed while eloping, especially during the cold weather months as they are not dressed to stay warm against freezing temperatures.