Can Wandering Due to Dementia Be Stopped?

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Doctor Examining Senior Female Patient's Eyes

The Alzheimer’s Association says that 60 percent of people with Alzheimer’s disease will wander. Wandering is when the older adult walks around with no apparent destination in mind. It can lead them to leave the house unattended and become lost. If your older family member wanders, you may wonder how you can make them stop. Unfortunately, there isn’t really a way to stop the behavior altogether. However, you may be able to prevent it from happening or at least learn ways to keep your loved one safer. Below are some tips for dealing with wandering.

See to Basic Needs

When basic needs aren’t met, it can lead to wandering. If the older adult needs to use the bathroom, they may wander about the house because they don’t remember where the bathroom is and are looking for it. Hunger might make them walk around looking for a snack. Check that the senior isn’t hungry, thirsty, too cold or warm, or in pain.

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Camouflage Doors

When older adults can’t see doors, they can’t open them and leave the house alone. Covering doors with posters or wallpaper murals can disguise them. For example, you might cover a door with a picture of a bookshelf. Another way to camouflage doors is to paint them the same color as the walls of the room, making them harder for the older adult to see.

Lock Up the House

Make sure the locks on all doors and windows work. You might even want to change the locks to ones that are more difficult for the senior to open. You can also install locks up high on the door where they are out of normal visual range and harder to reach. If the older adult is particularly prone to leaving the house, you might also want to consider putting bars on the windows. Some people put sensors on the doors and windows that sound an alarm when they are opened.

Fence the Yard

Consider having the entire yard fenced, so that the senior can go outside without being able to leave the yard easily. In addition to keeping them from wandering away, it can also offer them the opportunity to spend some time outside in the sunshine and fresh air while reducing family caregivers’ worries about them wandering away.

Enlist the Help of Home Care

Having a home care provider who helps to keep the older adult safe is an excellent way to reduce your worries about wandering. A home care provider can come to the house while family caregivers are at work or away for other reasons. Or, home care can be there even when other family members are around, allowing them to relax in their homes while someone else looks after the senior for a while.


If you or an aging loved one is considering home care in services in Middleburg, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.