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Caregiver Training Part XIV: Wandering
Jane's father has been living with her for two years. He often exhibits wandering behaviors such as trying to go leave the house through the front door while saying he "wants to go home."
Jane does not understand why this is happening and seeks help.
Common response: Jane finds her father about to exit a door of the house. Jane firmly grabs her father’s arm and pleads with him to “stop” in a distressed tone.
Expert explanation: WANDERING occurs as dementia progresses. It can be triggered by: a.) an old memory; b.) not recognizing the environment due to poor vision or confusion; or c.) feelings of distress. People with dementia often have trouble expressing where they are going and/or the reason(s) for going there. Wandering can be triggered by seeing items that one picks up before leaving the house (e.g. car keys, umbrella, coat, etc.).
Recommended response: Jane removes items that trigger WANDERING behavior. She finds her father attempting to leave, approaches him calmly and redirects him with an activity they can do together.
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View the Facilitator & Advanced Learning Notes.
The project described was supported by Grant Number 1C1CMS330982 from the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or any of its agencies. This project was funded, in part, by the Archstone Foundation.