Dementia causes people to lose their ability to recognize familiar places. It’s common for a person living with dementia to wander or become lost or confused about their location. Six in 10 people living with dementia will wander at least once; many do so repeatedly. Although common, wandering can be dangerous, even life-threatening, and the stress of this risk weighs heavily on caregivers and family.

It might seem unbelievable that older persons who are frail, slow-moving, or use a walker could get very far without anyone noticing. But it really does happen! It is important to keep your loved one with dementia safe and try to prevent them from wandering.

There are many reasons why people wander away from home. It is important to try and find out why people are wandering so that you can stop them, especially if it is dangerous for them to wander about in the area. If the person seems to become restless and tries to leave the house at a certain time every day, maybe this was the time that s/he went to work, milk the cows, feed the chickens or fetch the children from school. Maybe the person wants to visit one of her/his children, a friend or relative.  Maybe it’s just to enjoy the space and freedom of being outside and not kept in the house. Some people walk just for the pleasure of walking.

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