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Alzheimer's sufferers are sometimes inclined to wander. Wandering occurs when the person, for whatever reason, decides to go off on their own. They may simply walk away, or they may attempt to drive themselves, which is a danger in and of itself. Often they do not know where they are going, but for some reason they

feel a need to go. They can end up lost and confused, showing up in the most inappropriate places.




Wandering can result from a number of things:

      • Side effects of medication
      • Stress
      • Confusion
      • Restlessness or pent-up energy
      • Agitation, irritation, or frustration
      • Anxiety
      • Not being able to remember familiar places or people
      • Fear of no longer familiar sounds and sights
      • A feeling that some important task was left undone

Tips for managing wandering behavior


These things may help manage the tendency to wander:

      • Exercise and regular activity
      • Provide simple household activities
      • Offer comfort and gentle reminders that the person is where they belong

Protect your loved one from wandering

  • Enroll the person in the Alzheimer's Association's Safe Return Program, a nationwide identification system that helps to locate lost loved ones. Tell your neighbors about the person's condition and keep their phone numbers handy.Make the necessary changes to secure the home (i.e. deadbolt locks, etc.).

What is Safe Return?


Safe Return is a national, government-funded program of the Alzheimer's Association that assists in the identification, as well as the safe and timely return, of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias who wander off, sometimes far from home, and become lost. The Safe Return program helps reunite families by working through Alzheimer's Association chapters across the country that use trained community members, including law enforcement officials, emergency medical technicians, and transit operators.

The program includes:

      • Identification products, including wallet cards, jewelry, and clothing labels
      • A national photo/information database
      • A 24-hour toll-free emergency crisis line
      • Alzheimer's Association local chapter support
      • Wandering behavior education and training for caregivers and families

Check with your local Alzheimer's Association for more information about how to register. There may be

fees, but you can ask about financial assistance.

Tennessee Chapters


Eastern Tennessee Chapter
2200 Sutherland Avenue Portland Building, Suite H 102
Phone 1: (865) 544-6288
Fax : (865) 544-6249

Northeast Tennessee Chapter

207 N. Boone Street, Suite 1500
Phone 1: (423) 928-4080
Fax : (423) 928-1152


Mid South Chapter
4004 Hillsboro Pike, Suite 219B
Phone 1: (615) 292-4938
Fax : (615) 386-9768


Southeast Tennessee Chapter
735 Broad Street, Suite 300
Phone 1: (423) 265-3600
Phone 2:(800) 616-1922
Fax : (423) 265-3611