Be on guard for the warning signs of dementia

People with dementia often wander, which can be very dangerous. It's easy for them to become disoriented and lost, even in their own neighborhood.

Caregivers need to be on guard for warning signs of wandering. There may be a problem if a loved one:

* Returns from a regular walk or drive later than usual
* Is restless, paces or makes repetitive movement
* Has difficulty locating familiar places like the bathroom or bedroom

Another warning sign is when someone tries to "go home" when they are home.

"They don't recognize their current environment as home," said Linda Whiteside with the Alzheimer's Association of Western and Central Washington>. "They don't live in the moment; they're living in the past, so their current home doesn't look familiar to them. What they recall as home is their childhood home or maybe their first home."

If someone in the family is a wanderer, you need to take steps to keep them secure.

"Some people get very creative with camouflaging doors, locks on gates, fencing the yard or patio and installing alarms on doors," Whiteside explained.

And let the neighbors know about your situation, so they call if they spot a problem.

More Information:

Ten Tips to Reduce Wandering
Wandering Behavior: Preparing for and Preventing It