Imagine going for a walk during the day, getting lost, and not being able to find your way back home. Or one of your loved ones wanders out in the middle of the night with no coat or socks. This is a reality the people living with dementia and their caregivers face.
Wandering is a common behaviour for people with dementia and can occur for numerous reasons, including confusion, delusions, escape from a real or perceived threat and agitation.
It can be very scary for all involved and may lead to stress and concerns for safety. Wandering may result in highly dangerous situations including elopement, in which the person leaves an area and is unwilling or unable to return. Six in 10 people with dementia will wander.
Figuring out why a person living with dementia wanders can be difficult, because each person is different. We do know that wandering is a direct result of physical changes in the brain. Research has determined that it is more common in the middle or later stages of dementia, although it can occur at any point during the disease.
The risks of wandering can be minimized through proactive steps, strategies and services.
Here are 10 ways to prevent wandering.