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Health Tip: When Alzheimer's Patients Wander

-- Wandering -- moving about without a definite purpose in mind -- is a common trait of a person with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. This can be dangerous for the patient, and be a source of great stress for worried caregivers and loved ones.

Here are suggestions for what to do when Alzheimer's patients wander, courtesy of the Alzheimer's Association:

  • Enroll your loved one in a nationwide identification program specifically for dementia-related wandering, which can help them return home safe.
  • Keep contact information at hand for neighbors and local emergency services personnel, and keep them informed about the patient's condition.
  • Install deadbolt or slide-bolt locks on all exterior doors. But never attempt to lock an Alzheimer's patient indoors without supervision.
  • Limit access to dangerous areas, both inside and near the home.
  • Keep in mind that Alzheimer's patients may wander in virtually any form of transportation, including bus or taxi.
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Posted: August 2007