Wandering is a common and very frustrating symptom of Alzheimer's.

Memory impaired people may wander from room to room or mill aimlessly.

This is something that cannot be controlled either by the person who is doing it, or by someone who is bothered by it.

However, here are some suggestions that may help relieve the tension.

* Keep in mind that this is an impulse that cannot be stopped.

* If the person looks as if they are searching for something, it may be because they are looking for something that they can identify as theirs. (Many people wander looking for something that tells them they belong there).

* Be compassionate even if you are angry or frustrated.

* If a person wanders into your room, guide them gently to the door. Either take their hand and walk them down the hall or walk ahead of them and lead them into another area.

* Approach them from the front so that they can see you coming. Speak to them in a quiet gentle voice while looking them in the eye. Remember, sometimes it isn't the words they understand, but the tone of voice you use.

* Distract and encourage. If you find them in your room, distract them with a suggestion such as helping you with a task. Say, "Come help me", and lead them out of your room.

* Send them on a mission. Ask if they could go and get you something. (i.e. a magazine, or a piece of paper).

* Ask what they are looking for in a quiet tone. It may be that they are confused as to where they live, in which case you can lead them back to their room.

* Offer a suggestion of something they might be able to do which will take them out of your space.

* Keep in mind that you are dealing with child like ways.

* Try to place yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if you felt lost and alone?

Samuel Lawson Ph.D. (c) copyright 1996

Alzheimer's Outreach http://alzheimers.zarcrom.com

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