Nina M. Silverstein, PhD, Associate Professor, Gerontology, University of Massachusetts Boston, College of Public & Community Service, Boston, MA.
Gerald Flaherty, Director of Special Projects & Safe Return Alzheimer's Association, Massachusetts Chapter, Boston, MA.
Nearly half of all residents in long-term care settings suffer from some type of dementing illness, with Alzheimer disease by far the most common type. People with dementia should be presumed at high risk for wandering due to their cognitive deficits and unpredictable behaviour. Recommendations are shared to minimize attempts to wander and actual wandering episodes by promoting a more therapeutic environment both through the physical structure and through staff training. In addition, effective strategies to follow in situations when a resident is, in fact, missing are presented.
Key words: dementia, wandering, long-term care, environment.