Steps to Prevent Wandering

Almost everyone with memory challenges eventually will wander.

Here is what caregivers can do to reduce the risk:

1. Pay attention to the individuals’ patterns.

2. Reduce environmental stimulation which can be disorienting.

3. Provide opportunities for socialization and engagement in activities.

4. If someone has wandered, know their favorite spots in the neighborhood and check them first.

5. Know if they are right or left handed. Upon leaving the house, they are more likely to turn in the direction of their dominant hand, or the direction in which they usually leave the neighborhood.

6. Wandering can be initiated when someone is hungry, thirsty, needing a rest room or searching for a pet. Have your loved one wear a wander guard so they can be located quickly, as well as a medical alert bracelet.

7. Install electronic chimes or doorbells on doors. Lock exits with slide locks out of their reach.

8. Place black rubber mats in front of exits. They will appear to someone with dementia as a hole in the ground and they will likely avoid it

9. Have current photographs available

10. Know your local silver alert system and call for help immediately

11. Keep local hospital and emergency numbers handy

12. Know the individual’s phone number to be able to track them by phone.

Abstracted from AFA Care Quarterly Spring 2018
supplemented by well known facts about wandering behaviors