More than half of all people with dementia wander at some point. They might leave their home on foot or by car, and have trouble finding their way back.
Wandering can happen at any stage of dementia. It can be dangerous. A person with dementia might wander outside without a coat or shoes, or fall, or have a car accident.
Those close to people with dementia can prevent wandering by:
Keeping car keys out of sight
Installing alarms that signal when a door or window is opened
Putting stop signs on doors
Avoiding shopping malls and other noisy places that can be confusing
Reassuring the person if they feel lost or say they need to go somewhere
Keeping a regular schedule with activities the person enjoys
Those close to people with dementia can prepare for wandering by:
Asking neighbors and local police to get in touch, if they see the person with dementia wandering
Having a recent picture of the person with dementia on hand
Getting a medical alert pendant or identification bracelet for the person with dementia, if they are open to it
Getting a wearable GPS tracker for the person with dementia, if they are open to it and tracking systems work in their area
Authorities suggest calling emergency services (911) within 15 minutes of noticing that a person with dementia has gone missing, to ensure the person's safety.