Some People With Alzheimer’s Will Wander

You can’t know when it will happen, however, it is common for a person with dementia to wander and become lost; many do repeatedly. According to Medic Alert (live 24-hour emergency response service), over 60% of those with dementia will wander at some point during the course of the disease.

Wandering can be dangerous – even life-threatening. There are many reasons why a person who has Alzheimer’s might wander including:

  • Stress or fear. Your loved one might wander as a reaction to an unfamiliar or overstimulating environment, a loud noise or a situation he or she doesn’t understand.
  • He or she might get lost while searching for someone or something.
  • He or she might be looking for something to do.
  • Basic needs. He or she might be looking for a bathroom or food, or want to go outdoors.
  • Following past routines. He or she might try to go to work, do chores or buy groceries.

Preventing Wandering:

Wandering is not necessarily harmful if it occurs in a safe and controlled environment. However, wandering can pose safety issues.

To prevent unsafe wandering identify why the wandering might be happening. For example, if your loved one tends to wander at the same time every day or when he or she is bored, plan meaningful activities to keep him or her better engaged.

Install alarms and locks. Various devices can alert you that your loved one is on the move. You might place pressure-sensitive alarm mats at the door or at your loved one’s bedside, put warning bells on doors and use childproof covers on doorknobs. If your loved one tends to unlock doors, you might install sliding bolt locks out of your loved one’s line of sight.

Technology Can Help with Caregiving: Philips Lifeline founded the medical alert industry over 40 years ago and is now the #1 medical alert service in the U.S. – to learn more about Philips Lifeline visit

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