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Alzheimer’s - Preventing Wandering Behaviour

World Alzheimer's Day, September 21st of each year, is a day on which Alzheimer's organizations around the world concentrate their efforts on raising awareness about Alzheimer's and dementia (a form of Alzheimer's) and is part of World Alzheimer's Month.

Last week we published a blog describing this year's theme which tied in with Australia's Dementia Action Week.

In this week's blog we continue the education around Alzheimer's and Dementia and our attention is drawn to the dangers of wandering by people suffering from Alzheimer's and Dementia. 

The Alzheimer's Association reports that as many as 60% of people with dementia will wander and may get lost. Dementia is the broad medical category for individuals with a decline in memory or other cognitive or language abilities. Among the over 100 forms of dementia, Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60% to 80% of all dementia cases. Other people with conditions such as head injuries, stroke, Parkinson's disease, autism and Down syndrome may also stray from their homes and familiar surroundings.

​Warning Signs of Wandering

For caregivers, it is important to recognize the warning signs of wandering, then to adopt a personalised safety plan for your loved one. Specific signs of wandering include:

•Restlessness, pacing or repetitive movement.

•Difficulty with locating familiar places like a bedroom or bathroom.

•A desire to "go home" even when already at home.

•Attempting to go to work or to fulfill former obligations.

•Returning late from a regular walk or drive.

•Inquiring about the whereabouts of past or current family and friends.

•Becoming anxious or nervous in crowded places such as restaurants and stores.

Dementia Australia explains the reasons why people with dementia start wandering.

Reasons for wandering

Changed environment

A person with dementia may feel uncertain and disoriented in a new environment such as a new house or day care centre. Wandering may stop once they become used to the change.

Loss of memory

Wandering may be due to a loss of short-term memory. A person may set off to go to the shop or a friend's house, and then forget where they were going or why. Or they forget that their partner has told them that they were going out for a while and set off in search of them.

Excess energy

Wandering can be a way of using up excess energy, which may indicate that the person needs more regular exercise.

Searching for the past

As people become more confused, they may wander off in search of someone, or something, relating to their past. This may be a partner who has died, a lost friend or a house they lived in as a child.

Expressing boredom

As dementia progresses people find it harder and harder to concentrate for any length of time. Wandering may be their way of keeping occupied.

Confusing night with day

People with dementia may suffer from insomnia, or wake in the early hours and become disoriented. They may think it is daytime and decide to go for a walk. Poor eyesight or hearing loss may mean shadows or night sounds become confusing and distressing.

For more information on this topic see an article on the Right at Home International Blog Published by Beth Lueders.

If your loved is in need of the right care, right at home, and you need support to do that, call Right at Home for information on how this can be achieved. As the experts in Home Care, we have the information and skill needed to support varying home care situations to deliver the most suitable in-home care and assistance. Right at Home is the trusted name in home care, help and assistance for seniors and adults living with a disability.

Founded in 1995, Right at Home offers in-home companionship and personal care, and assistance to seniors and adults living with a disability who want to continue to live independently or age in their home (aged or disability care at home)Right at Home is your local expert for issues related to caring for your loved ones, and is dedicated to keeping you informed about home care. With no admin or subscription fees Right at Home allows you to get more care from your package or budget.

Right at Home is a 'My Aged Care' government approved, home care provider for levels 1 – 4 and offers flexible in-home care services such as nursing care, after hospital care, post-operative care, respite care, dementia and Alzheimer's care. Right at Home also offers assistance with daily living such as grooming, hygiene, transport, shopping, meal prep, domestic services and social support, so your loved one can enjoy a more independent, vibrant life. Our nurses and caregivers are screened, highly trained and insured prior to entering your home so you can trust us with the caregiving while you focus on your loved one.

To find out more, please give us a call on 1300 363 802 or visit our website

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