“You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease” – Chapter 8 Excerpt

You Oughta Know: Recognizing, Acknowledging, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer's DiseaseIn this ninth installment of brief excerpts from each chapter in the book You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease, we look at the eighth step in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

This post includes an excerpt from chapter 8, which thoroughly discusses how to acknowledge, recognize, and respond to the eighth step in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease: wandering and wanting to go home.

This chapter discusses in-depth the reasons that wandering and wanting to go home are part of the eighth step in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s disease. It also discusses practical, real-time, and loving ways we as caregivers should respond and help our loved ones as we navigate through this step in the journey.

This series begins with the forward to the book and an explanation of why I wrote this book and why you should read it.

The series continues with the inclusion of excerpts from Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, and, with this post, Chapter 8.

The steps in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease are presented sequentially in the order in which they actually appear in the course of these neurological diseases.

There are no other books that literally walk through each step in sequential order as they emerge in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Additionally, there is no other book that discusses:

  1. The process we as caregivers acknowledge each new step – there is an acceptance period that we have to go through
  2. The process we use to guide ourselves and our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease through the recognition phase of each step
  3. The concrete, loving, and practical information on how we should respond and how we can help guide our loved ones’ responses

These are the things that make You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease unique and stand alone in the plethora of books about dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

going gentle into that good night divider

Excerpt “Chapter 8: ‘Can’t Find My Way Home’”

“Wandering is the next step of the journey our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease go through. Wandering can be characterized by endless walking within the safety of a house or facility, but more often it is characterized by going outside and either walking or driving (if our loved ones are still driving) aimlessly until our loved ones are lost and either can’t or don’t know they need to or how to come back.

There are many stories of elderly people with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease who were wandering on foot or in a vehicle who died before they could be located. These people have been hit by vehicles while walking in the middle of the street, walked into woods and gotten lost, or have driven vehicles off the road over embankments or into bodies of water.

Often, the impulsive nature of wandering – a sudden need to be stimulated or being on a mission to go somewhere or find something – leads our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease to just pick up and go, often without adequate clothing in cold weather, and often in the middle of the night.

Wandering may be tied to visual hallucinations as well, especially if the visual hallucination is of a loved one. When that person leaves, our loved ones may want to follow and go with them.

However, the main impetus of wandering seems to be rooted in the desire to go home. Our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease begin talking frequently about wanting to go home – even if they’re in a home they’ve lived in for many years – and wanting to find loved ones, many of whom have been dead for years.

It’s important to understand the context of where our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease are neurologically and memory-wise. While dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease affect short-term memory and inhibit new memories from being formed, long-term memories are and stay, for most of the duration, intact. And those long-term memories are where our loved ones begin spending a lot of time.

Therefore, home, for our loved ones is most often their childhood or early adulthood homes, and those homes and the people who were there are what our loved ones are looking for and where they want to go.

7 thoughts on ““You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease” – Chapter 8 Excerpt

  1. Pingback: “You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease” – Chapter 9 Excerpt | Going Gentle Into That Good Night

  2. Pingback: “You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease” – Chapter 10 Excerpt | Going Gentle Into That Good Night

  3. Pingback: “You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease” – Chapter 11 Excerpt | Going Gentle Into That Good Night

  4. Pingback: “You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease” – Chapter 12 Excerpt | Going Gentle Into That Good Night

  5. Pingback: “You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease” – Chapter 13 Excerpt | Going Gentle Into That Good Night

  6. Pingback: “You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease” – Chapter 14 Excerpt | Going Gentle Into That Good Night

  7. Pingback: “You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease” – Chapter 15 Excerpt | Going Gentle Into That Good Night

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