The Wanderer


If you care for someone who has had a stroke, has Parkinson’s, or has Alzheimer’s, you may also be dealing with your loved one’s memory loss or confusion.  This memory loss or confusion can result in your loved one wandering away from home.  This behavior is incredibly dangerous and especially terrifying for you as a caregiver.  It’s estimated that at least 60% of those suffering with some form of dementia will wander away from home.  If not found within 24 hours, the odds that something deadly will happen to them greatly increase.  Even more frustrating is the fact that the wanderer probably won’t call for help if they get lost and won’t respond to someone calling their name when looking for them.

     There are some steps you can take to help deal with wandering.  Try to make the home environment more secure.  A fenced backyard with locked gates provides a safe area to stroll and wander in.  Make sure there are locks on windows while installing sliding bolt locks way up high or down low on the door out of the line of sight may prevent trips outdoors.  Sometimes just setting a child proof gate across the doorway may be enough to deter wandering.  You might want to install door chimes that ring when someone goes through a doorway, signaling you of your loved one’s attempt to leave. At night, a pressure-sensitive alarm mat placed next to the bed can alert you when someone gets out of bed.  Make sure any car keys are well hidden so there won’t be any getaways  in a car. Every extra set of eyes and ears is helpful so let your neighbors know if your loved one is a wanderer—-they may notice them well before you know they’re gone.

     For a nominal fee, you can register your loved one with the Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return Program which will provide an identification bracelet with a toll-free number that police can call to report finding your lost wanderer. When you report someone getting lost, their picture and medical information is easily faxed to law enforcement agencies.  You can register by calling 1-800-772-8672.  What other measures have helped you manage wandering? Share below and visit us at


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Filed under Alzheimer's, Caregiver, Home Care, Senior Care, Trillium HomeCare, Uncategorized

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