Date: January 10, 2020

Author: Kathleen Boziwick


Wandering is a common problem for people with dementia. Most commonly it’s a response to an unmet need of some sort. That’s why it helps to run through a list of basic needs to see of those resolve your senior’s urge to wander. But there’s a lot to learn as a caregiver to a senior with dementia, and other techniques can help.

Keep Track of Just about Everything

Tracking is your friend when you’re a caregiver. When you track symptoms, trends, activities, and anything else you can think of, you’re better able to look back and see patterns in behavior. This also helps you to spot anything that happens around the same time, especially if that could be a triggering event. Try to include as much information as you can when you do track data about your senior’s activities. That helps you and it helps someone else, like her doctor, who might be helping you with possible triggers later.

Try a Structured Daily Schedule

Structure can be incredibly helpful for a person with dementia, regardless of whether they’re prone to wandering or not. But for someone who does wander, a properly structured schedule helps to hit all of the main basic needs and possibilities, which means it might be easier to spot the outlying trigger for the wandering. Make sure you’re including mealtimes, bathroom visits, and anything else you can think of. Try not to rush your senior, but set a schedule that flows.

Reassuring Her Frequently Can Help

It’s disorienting to find yourself continually in an unfamiliar setting, even if that’s happening in your own home. Your elderly family member may find herself constantly in that situation and wandering can be a way to deal with that unsettling feeling. Reassuring her can help more than you realize. Just letting her know that you’re there with her and she’s safe can be immensely helpful.

Take a Moment to Assess What You Need

If you’re neglecting yourself, dealing with difficult and challenging behaviors from your senior, like wandering, is going to be a lot more difficult. Do yourself and your senior a favor and make sure that you’re taking the best care of yourself as you can. Frustration is going to build otherwise and that will mean you’ll respond in ways you don’t want to respond.

It’s not easy to cover every single possibility when it comes to wandering and your senior, but you can make better headway than you expect. If you’re still feeling frustrated, senior care providers can help. They’re experienced in helping with this sort of issue and they can help you to spot signs you might otherwise miss.

Date: January 10, 2020