Reuniting after Wandering
A person with Alzheimer's disease who has been found will often be anxious and confused. Using the following communication strategies may help to calm the person and encourage her return home.
- Approach the person in a casual manner, making sure that she sees you coming.
- If the person does not wish to return home immediately, walk a short distance with her while speaking in a calm, normal tone of voice.
- Reassure the person about where she is and why.
- Let her know that you have been worried about her and will be happy to see her return home.
- Talk to her about familiar things that may trigger a response to return home. An invitation to have a cup of tea or feed the dog may be enough to prompt the person to go home with you.
- The person may be determined to reach a particular location. If possible, consider taking her there right away or at a later date.
Keep your perspective
- The whole experience of someone going missing can be extremely stressful. Remember that the behaviour is a part of Alzheimer's disease. Neither you nor the person is to blame.
- Once the person is safely home again, it is natural to want to ensure that wandering does not happen again. The steps you take to prevent a recurrence should focus on prevention. Keep in mind that restraints should never be used as they can have serious effects, such as a higher risk for falls and skin breakdown, and have not been shown to reduce the incidence of wandering.