Are you the caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia? Do they have the tendency to want to wander away?
Wandering is a common behavior in patients with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. And once the individual begins to show signs of wandering behaviors, they are at a high-risk of wandering away or becoming lost.
This behavior can be very distressing for caregivers, and dangerous for the individual.
Causes of Wandering
While the exact causes of wandering behavior are not fully understood, it may occur in some individuals who are searching for something, or trying to get back to a place they remember like a job or favorite destination. And sometimes people just wander or walk away because they are restless or agitated.
Common reasons people wander are:
- Unable to retain instructions to wait, not leave, stay in the car, stay in the house
- Agitation, or possible onset of delirium
- A sudden new routine or situation
- Response to something they hear or see
- Looking for something related to their past
- Want to “go home” even though they are home
Signs that a Person with Dementia May Be at Risk for Wandering
They may say things like:
- I want to go home
- I need to go to work
- I have to go shopping
- They may not recognize their house anymore.
- They need reminded about the location of their bedroom or bathroom.
- They may exhibit increased restlessness, pacing.
- They do not remember to come back into the house when they are outside.
- They cannot stay on task and forget what they are doing or where they are.
Original document appears on the UPMC website here.