Alzheimer’s disease causes people to lose their ability to recognize familiar places and faces. It’s common for a person living with dementia to wander or become lost or confused about their location, and it can happen at any stage of the disease. Six in 10 people living with dementia will wander at least once; many do so repeatedly. Although common, wandering can be dangerous — even life-threatening — and the stress of this risk weighs heavily on caregivers and family.
Who’s at risk for wandering?
- Returning from a regular walk or drive later than usual.
- Forgetting how to get to familiar places.
- Talking about fulfilling former obligations, such as going to work
- Trying or wanting to “go home” even when at home.
- Becoming restless, pacing or making repetitive movements.
- Having difficulty locating familiar places, such as the bathroom, bedroom or dining room.
- Asking the whereabouts of past friends and family.
- Acting as if doing a hobby or chore, but nothing gets done.
- Appearing lost in a new or changed environment.
- Becoming nervous or anxious in crowded areas, such as markets or restaurants.
Original article appears on the Alzheimer’s Association website here.