A few tips to help you reduce the risk of wandering

More than 60 percent of those with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia will wander, and if a person is not found within 24 hours, up to half of individuals who wander will suffer serious injury or death.

If you live with or care for a person with dementia, here are a few tips to help you reduce the risk of wandering:

  • Move around and exercise to reduce anxiety, agitation and restlessness
  • Ensure all basic needs are met (toileting, nutrition, thirst)
  • Carry out daily activities, such as folding laundry or preparing dinner, to provide daily structure
  • Reassure the person if he or he feels lost, abandoned or disoriented
  • Avoid busy places that are confusing and can cause disorientation, such as shopping malls
  • Place deadbolts either high or low on exterior doors
  • Control access to car keys (a person with dementia may not just wander by foot)
  • Do not leave someone with dementia unsupervised in new surroundings

The Alzheimer’s Association encourages individuals and families coping with wandering to enroll in MedicAlert + Alzheimer's Association Safe Return®, a nationwide identification program designed to assist in the return of those who wander and become lost.

Families seeking a more technologically advanced and robust program may consider the new Alzheimer’s Association Comfort Zone program. Family members can have knowledge of a person’s location, while individuals with Alzheimer’s can enjoy the emotional security of familiar routines and surroundings.

For more information about Comfort Zone, Medic Alert + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return or additional tips on coping with wandering and other safety issues related to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, visit www.alz.org/safetycenter or call the Association’s 24/7 Helpline at 1.800.272.3900.

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