What to do if Wandering Happens

It's not easy to remain calm and think clearly when a person with Alzheimer's disease is lost. Keep in mind that you are not alone and that others are there to help you. The following are general strategies that may be helpful in the event that a person with Alzheimer's disease wanders away from home.

Check common areas

 Try and get a sense of how long the person has been gone.

  • Look inside the house, including the basement, before expanding your search to the outdoors.
  • Check to see if any items such as luggage, car keys or credit cards are missing. These may provide clues to her whereabouts.
  • If you live in a rural area, do not search on your own. You may endanger yourself and complicate the search for the police. 

Contact the police

When contacting the police that a person with Alzheimer's disease has wandered, let them know that the person is registered with the MedicAlert®Safely Home® program.

  • Once the police arrive, share any records you have which may help in the search.
  • Let the police know about any medical conditions, or medications the person is taking.
  • Provide them with a recent photograph.
  • If you know of any areas that she may have wandered to, share these with the police.

Police officers across Canada use MedicAlert®Safely Home® to help find a person with Alzheimer's disease who is lost and assist in a safe return home.

Mobilize support


  • If you will be involved in the search for the person, ensure someone stays at home in case the individual returns.
  • At the same time, alert friends and neighbours that the person is missing.
If the person has used a vehicle, ensure that the police have the license plate number. If credit cards may be used, talk with the police about informing the credit card companies that a person with Alzheimer's disease is missing and may use the cards. Tracking the use of the credit cards may help in locating the person

Last Updated: 11/08/2017