Wandering And Safety

People with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia may become confused concerning time and place.

This could include getting lost in a familiar neighbourhood, being unable to find their way home or being unable to recall how they arrived at a particular location. A person living with dementia may also have challenges identifying the correct day, week, month or year.

Wandering is a significant safety risk because the person may leave home and be unable to find their way back.

They can become disoriented, anxious and afraid. Risks become elevated when you consider the time of day (night time) or any inclement weather. That person may not be dressed for the conditions outside or be taking their medications.

The situation can be especially challenging if they have difficulty communicating. Any people they encounter may not identify them as lost or missing. And the person might not have identification, be able to ask for help or recall how to contact their loved ones. 

Take preventative measures and create a safety plan

Taking proactive steps to build a safety plan can help protect and save your loved one’s life. It can also help reduce the risk of wandering overall and increase the chances of a safe return home in that worst-case scenario. 

This is a national program available to Canadian families due to a partnership between MedicAlert® and the Alzheimer Society of Canada. It is an identification program that helps a person return home safely should they become unable to communicate with first responders or recall their personal information for any reason.  


Review practical tips on how to prevent wandering here:


Alberta Health Services Home Care can talk to you about safety


Talk to someone. Our local team is happy to chat with you further about safety concerns.