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How often do those with dementia wander?

You're putting your loved one in a nursing home because he or she has dementia. Not only is help needed with medication and daily tasks, but you're always worried about forgetfulness, confusion, and wandering. The nursing home has workers who are trained to deal with these issues, helping to confine residents for their own benefit.

Are you right to worry? How often does wandering really happen?

First and foremost, it should be noted that a consistent definition of wandering has not been established by the medical community. This does make it hard to determine exact statistics, as a case of wandering at one institution may not be considered the same way at another.

That being said, it's clear that the problem exists. On estudy that was carried out back in 2006 estimated that about 20 percent of those with dementia -- one out of every five -- had wandering issues.

Another study found that the issue was more dire, stating that 31 percent of those living in nursing homes -- that includes all residents, not just those with dementia -- would wander. That study then claimed that the amount of people with dementia who would wander at some point -- just one incident was all it took to qualify -- was between 25 percent and 70 percent.

That wide range does help show how hard it is to get precise stats about this issue, but each study still came to the same conclusion overall, finding that wandering happens and can put residents at risk. If negligence in the nursing home allows an injury to take place, family members need to know what rights they have to compensation.

Source: Managed Health Care Connect, "Wandering and elopement in nursing homes," Paula E. Lester, MD, FACP; Adrianna Garite, DO; Izchak Kohen, MD, accessed April 20, 2017

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