Today’s post continues a review 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 discussed the characteristics that are common to most critical wanderings. If an individual with dementia becomes lost during their wandering behavior, they are likely to keep going “until they get stuck.” They typically travel in a straight line and follow the path of least resistance even if it leads downhill, into a drainage ditch, or across an open field, until they get caught up in thick briars, bushes, gully or steep ditch, encounter a stream or river, a dead-end alley, fence, etc. They tend to stick to a defined path, however.
They often will not cry out for help, seek assistance, or respond to searchers’ shouts. They may misinterpret sight or sound cues, and their fear or anxiety may increase as a result. For example, a woman may mistake the concern of a passerby or a rescuer as being a threat. A war veteran may hide from search aircraft.
The median distance traveled on foot is one-half mile. Nearly one-quarter of those found are within 35 yards of a travel aid, such as a road or trail. They may be trying to travel to a former residence or a favorite place.
The final post will be March 21, 2017, and discuss recovery issues.