Caregiver Training: Wandering

daughter and father having a discussion

from the UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program

This training video is from the UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program Training series on Wandering (for those approaching or in the middle stages of dementia).  It’s a perfect topic to revisit during National Safety Month.

Not every person who has dementia will wander but nearly everyone living with dementia has the potential of losing their way by leaving out of the front door and/or taking a walk (or a drive) but not recalling how to return home. It can happen anytime and there may or may not be a trigger.

This video offers useful suggestions like disguising the door, and not leaving purses, wallets and keys by the door, acting as a trigger. Also, when someone states that they want to go “home,” this can mean a desire to return to a happy time period (longing for “yesteryear”). Wanting to go “home” could refer to a place, time, or people in the past.

Other suggestions:

  1. Engaging them in conversation about home. Have photos and reminiscing objects readily available by the door to use as a visual cue and distraction.
  2. Distracting with another purposeful activity. Change the environment.
  3. While it might not be possible to drive 100 or 1000 miles to their “home,” sometimes a short drive (with your club member in the passenger seat) will do the trick.

View the video below: