Dementia creates all sorts of problems; some can be life-threatening.
Six out of 10 people with dementia will wander.
Joanne Maher is with the Alzheimer's Association of Western and Central Washington.
"The problem with wandering is you never know when it's going to happen. You don't know if people are just going to head to the mailbox and decide that this is a good time to go for a walk and then they find themselves confused or disoriented," Maher says.
They recommend the Medic Alert and Safe Return program.
When someone enrolls in the program they wear a bracelet that has information about them and a 24-hour toll-free emergency number to call.
"First responders are trained to look for this piece of jewelry, as well as hospitals and police stations. The object of that is to reunite people as quickly as possible," says Maher.
There's a more high-tech program called Comfort Zone - a web-based service that works with a GPS tracking device. It lets caregivers see, in real time, where someone is.
You can also set up alerts if someone leaves what you determine to be that comfort zone.
"For instance, the person who is accustomed to walking in their neighborhood, but then one day they go out of that comfort zone. That's when the alert piece comes into play," Maher says.
Wandering and Getting Lost
Enroll someone in MedicAlert + Alzheimer's Association Safe Return
Consider having the person carry or wear an electronic tracking GPS device that helps manage location. Comfort Zone and Comfort Zone Check-In are two options.