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Senior Wandering Crisis- Warning Signs

Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 8:20AM

Senior Wandering Crisis- Warning Signs

 The Alzheimer’s Association reports that out of every 10 seniors with dementia, 6 will exhibit wandering behaviors.  This is a huge concern for caregivers and assisted-living facilities; in fact it is one of their biggest problems. As the number of senior citizens increases each year so does the number of reported cases of wandering. What’s really startling is that if wanders are “not found within 24 hours, up to half will suffer serious injury or death” according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Senior wandering is a huge safety concern and can happen anytime, even if the senior citizen has no past history of the behavior. Whether driving in a car or walking on foot, anyone with memory problems can become disoriented and wandering is a means to make sense of the world in that moment. Seniors are more likely to wander in new, unfamiliar settings, but it can also happen in familiar settings like their home or assisted-living facility.

Key Warning Signs

  • Takes longer than normal to return from regular outings
  • Forgets regular scheduled appointments without reason
  • Expresses the need to “go home” (even if already there)
  • Wants to complete obligations from the past- like going to work
  • Shows signs of restlessness such as pacing
  • Forgetful about the location of family member, past and present
  • Acts disoriented in their own home – can’t find bathroom or bedroom
  • Has difficulty finding their way in a new environment
  • Tries to complete tasks but nothing gets done
  • Thinks past memories are present reality

Wandering is not only dangerous, but frightening for both the senior and the caregivers. It is important to be prepared and have an action plan if you notice these warning signs and think your loved one is at risk for wandering.  


Stayed tuned to the County Health Care Guide Blog for more information on the Senior Wandering Crisis and tips to keep seniors safe at home and in assisted-living. We specialize in assisted-living, senior care, senior placement, and important senior news in Volusia County. From Daytona to Port Orange to New Smyrna, the County Health Care Guide is the only resource you need!

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