Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"Wandering" is not a dirty word.

When I hear the admonition to make sure that ALZ afflicted folk shouldn't "wander" I bristle a bit. I get the point that at certain stages of decline it is sometimes dangerous to oneself and stressful for a caregiver to let the Alz afflicted family member "wander". But in my experience of wandering, I have to say that there is extraordinary therapeutic benefit to being out of doors, wandering, as Wordsworth put it, "lonely as a cloud." I have spent my life wandering aimlessly among the streams and hills and rocks, often wading in rivers up to my waist, in the cool days of Summer and the the crisp afternoons of Fall. From the standpoint of getting lost, in fact, wandering or meandering along a stream is one of the easiest ways NOT to get lost. The river is one way: you're either going up-stream, or down, which makes way-finding pretty easy. Of course, I always have a cell phone with me, and a day-pack with water, extremely dark chocolate, excellent binoculars, a Peterson's Field Guide to the Birds of North America, and a wad of bum-wipe, just in case!
Aside from the physical benefits of exercise, however, there are myriad joys from observing the natural world. When one takes time to actually see the minnows in the water, or the feathers caught in an eddy near molting geese, there is a sense of connectedness and the joy of creation.

1 comment:

  1. It's wonderful that you can enjoy the outdoors and that wandering is not yet the life-threatening problem it can become. To continue to take pleasure from the natural world, as the disease progresses, you might want to add LoJack SafetyNet to the list of things you take with you. LoJack SafetyNet System, in conjunction with Project Lifesaver International, helps public safety agencies provide timely response for people at risk of wandering due to cognitive conditions like Alzheimer’s. LoJack SafetyNet uses a wristband worn by the person at risk that constantly emits a Radio Frequency signal, which can be tracked regardless of where the person has wandered – even into a densely wooded area, a body of water, a concrete structure, or a building constructed with steel. What makes LoJack SafetyNet unique is that it is directly integrated with law enforcement and its technology enables police to pinpoint the precise location of the missing person. Plus, Project Lifesaver provides in-depth training and certification to public safety agencies in both search and rescue and the use of the LoJack SafetyNet electronic tracking equipment, as well as the methods necessary to communicate with a person who has autism, Down syndrome or another related condition.

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