Wandering

Wandering has been described as "a tendency to move about, either in a seemingly aimless or disoriented fashion, or in pursuit of an indefinable or unobtainable goal."


Examples of wandering behavior are the following:

1. CONSTANT OR AGITATED PACING IN HOME:

Possible Underlying Causes:

In late afternoon, shadows may cause disturbing light patterns; too much glare; restlessness; need for exercise; boredom or too much stimulation resulting in confusion; effect of medications.

Possible Modifications:

  • Blinds pic
  • Introduce an activity that is appropriate to the functioning level of the person based on past interests or work.
  • If person is very agitated in a particular room, take him/her into another room that is quiet and less stimulating.
  • Regulate light in room by either providing more light, reducing shadows or glare through adjustable shades on window.
  • Provide enclosed backyard area for person to wander.
  • Provide more opportunity for exercise during the day (e.g., taking a walk).
  • Provide a platform rocker or other chair that swivels/rocks, which may help to relieve restlessness.
  • Provide music or dancing activity.
  • Check with doctor regarding medications and possible reactions.
2. LEAVING HOME UNATTENDED:

Possible Underlying Causes:

Desire for exercise or movement; disorientation; need to go to a specific place.

Possible Modifications: Fabric over door picDoor safety lock pic

  • Install lock on door that is difficult to operate.
  • Place lock at bottom or top of door. Install child-proof door knob.
  • Disguise door with piece of fabric that can be velcroed over the knob (use same color fabric as door).
  • Put alarm on door.
  • Provide person with Medic Alert bracelet.
  • Provide pocket card with name.
  • Make sure large windows are secured and cannot be used as an exit.
  • Alert police, neighbors.
  • Take person out for regular walks.
3. WANDERING IN MIDDLE OF NIGHT:

Possible Underlying Causes:

Too much medication; too much light in room; difficulty separating hallucinations and dreams from reality; misinterpretation of dim shapes in poor light; need to go to bathroom; too much sleeping during the daytime; not enough exercise during the day.

Posible Modifications: Stairs with Net pic

  • Install bed rail at side of bed. If person tries to climb over, discontinue use.
  • Install battery-operated intercom or monitoring system that will allow hearing what the person is doing in other rooms.
  • Attach bell to door so that it will alert someone when it is opened.
  • Use darkening shades on window to keep out light.
  • Install nightlights in bathroom and hallway.
  • Install portable gate at top of stairs.
  • Put portable commode next to bed.
  • Increase activity during the day.
  • Reduce fluid intake during the day.


    Back to Behavioral Problems
    Back to Table of Contents

Home