‘Wandering’ seen in 60% of dementia cases – other symptoms of the condition

In the United Kingdom, there are around 676,000 persons living with dementia. People who have dementia may experience memory impairments in the early stages of the disease, such as misplacing important items like their keys. However, as the disease progresses, memory issues may become more frequent and even deadly.

Alzheimer’s disease patients may gradually lose their ability to remember familiar things, including locations. This may cause people to become disoriented and roam aimlessly around the area.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, six out of ten persons have been known to wander around “at least once,” and many people may be prone to doing so “repeatedly.”

According to the nonprofit organization, “Although wandering is widespread, it can be dangerous—even life-threatening—and the stress of this risk weighs heavily on caregivers and family members.”

According to study, people who have dementia have a greater risk of becoming lost in areas that have a high concentration of roadways that are very complicated and disorganized.

A research project conducted by the Norwich Medical School of the University of East Anglia (UEA) examined three years’ worth of police data on missing persons with dementia, totaling 210 records from the police department.

UEA Norwich Medical School doctoral student Vaisakh Puthusseryppady said, “We found that the greater the density of road intersections, the more complicated the road intersections are, and the less ordered or less grid-like the overall road network layout, the greater the risk is for people with dementia to become disoriented.”

“We believe that the reason for this is due to the fact that each road crossing marks a point at which a person is required to make an important decision about navigation.

“The situation for persons with dementia is going to be significantly worse as there are more intersections, as these crossroads are going to be more complex, and as the entire road network is going to be more disorganized.”

It is essential for caregivers to be aware of any instances in which a patient may be at danger of wandering. If you are aware of the warning indications that someone may walk off, you may be able to assist in lowering the risk of harm that they face.

The Alzheimer’s Society has provided a list of critical indicators that can help determine whether a person is “at risk for wandering.”

Someone who consistently finishes their daily walks or drives later than usual is more likely to become lost at some point.

Another symptom is having difficulty finding “familiar locations,” such as bedrooms, bathrooms, or dining rooms. This can also be a sign of dementia.

Other signs include:

  • Trying or wanting to “go home” even when at home.
  • Becoming restless, pacing or making repetitive movements.
  • Becoming nervous or anxious in crowded areas, such as markets or restaurants.
  • Acting as if doing a hobby or chore, but nothing gets done.
  • Talking about fulfilling former obligations, such as going to work

What are any other signs that dementia is present?

Alzheimer’s disease is often recognized by the symptom of wandering off aimlessly. However, other early indicators may present themselves as memory problems that are not as severe or as other subtle shifts in behavior.

It’s possible for people with dementia to have trouble judging distances, which can make it difficult for them to go up stairs.

It’s also possible that they suffer with uncomfortable emotions like anxiety and despair. Dementia patients have an increased likelihood of also suffering from depression.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, a person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease “may have difficulty finding the appropriate word in a discussion, or they may not follow what is being said.”

It is important to keep in mind that memory issues can also be caused by things like stress, insufficient sleep, and drugs.

However, if you or a loved one are concerned about your own health or the health of another, there is no risk in consulting a healthcare professional.

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