Wandering Prevention – Part 1

Marilee DornToday’s post is a continuation of the Critical Wandering Presentation that Marilee Dorn gave following the WCDAN monthly meeting on March 14, 2017.  All material from this series of posts is taken from Marilee’s handout.

Marilee distinguished between wandering and critical wandering during her presentation.  Controlled wandering may help alleviate anxiety and provide some needed exercise for the person with dementia.  Critical wandering, when someone with dementia wanders from supervised care, leaves a controlled environment, or cannot be found, is a life threatening problem that requires prevention.

The first prevention component is behavioral.  Identification of the factors that contribute to wandering.  Common trigger factors include:

  • argumentative or confrontational situation
  • saw coat and hat (or purse, keys, etc.) and decided to leave
  • unfamiliar environment, changes in schedule or routine, often after moving to new facility
  • spent the day in day care, or having been too busy during the day, “sundowning” in late afternoon
  • a change in medication
  • left alone in a vehicle
  • up during the night to use the bathroom

Once determined, these triggers can be addressed or alleviated through caregiver behaviors – distraction, calming, reassurance, structured exercise, re-orienting to new landmarks, etc.

The next post (March 16) will continue with wandering prevention – environmental modifications.

Posted in Caregivers, Dementia Friends, Education & Awareness and tagged .