Alzheimer’s disease is a debilitating disorder that robs people of their memory and cognitive abilities. As it progresses, Alzheimer's disease may cause people to become increasingly disoriented to time and place. This confusion can lead to a common problem—wandering.
If you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, that person may be at risk for wandering, even if the condition is in the earlier stages. Be aware of certain behaviors, which could signal an increased chance of wandering, such as:
If your loved one has wandered before, he is more likely to do it again.
While wandering is a common behavior in people with Alzheimer's disease, these steps can help you lower the chance of your loved one from getting lost:
As much as you want to prevent wandering, you also want to be ready in case it does happen:
If your loved one is lost, call 911 right away. Be sure to tell the police that your loved one has Alzheimer's disease. If you have registered with Safe Return, also call that company.
National Institute on Aging
Alzheimer Society Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada
About Comfort Zone. Alzheimer's Association website. Available at: http://www.alz.org/comfortzone/about_comfort_zone.asp. Accessed June 13, 2012.
Home safety for people with Alzheimer's disease. National Institutes on Aging website. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/home-safety-people-alzheimers-disease/home-safety-behavior-behavior. Updated October 12, 2011. Accessed June 13, 2012.
MedicAlert + Safe Return. MedicAlert Foundation website. Available at: http://www.medicalert.org/join/alzheimers-safe-return.htm?selected=Membership+Services_Membership+for+Adults_MedicAlert+B+Safe+Return. Accessed June 13, 2012.
Wandering and getting lost. Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregiver Center website. Available at: http://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-wandering.asp. Accessed June 13, 2012.
Last reviewed June 2012 by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2012 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.
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