Wandering: Reduce The Risk

Not all wandering is bad! If your care recipient used to be active or always on their feet, they might be more likely to move around. However, it can be a high  risk situation if they leave the house and can’t get back home safely. They can  be at risk for falls, exhaustion, severe heat or cold, and other dangers. These  tips can help reduce the risk: 

Risk Reduction


Instead of forcing someone to sit still, focus on making it safe for them to walk and wander in the home. For example: 

  • Leave interesting things for them to find on their walk, such as a stack  of newspapers. 
  • Put out items that might redirect them to a different task, such as leaving out  a washcloth to wipe counters.  
  • Make sure they have a clear, clutter-free, and well lit path to walk through in the home.
  • Make sure they are wearing properly tied shoes.


Depending on location, you may be able to install a gate so they aren’t able to leave as easily. You can also add extra locks, cameras, or notification alarms. If they insist on leaving, see if you can take a walk with them.

GPS & Monitoring Devices

GPS (Global Positioning System)

These devices can help keep your care recipient safe and give you peace of mind. Devices with GPS can help you locate someone. Examples of devices that may  have GPS include smartphones, smartwatches, specialized locator devices, and  personalized emergency response systems. 

Monitoring Devices

Monitoring devices help you know what your care recipient is doing. Examples include cameras, door chimes, home motion sensors, and bathroom humidity  sensors.

Doorbell with camera

There are many different devices available. Think about what  works best by asking yourself the following questions: 

  • Will they wear a smartwatch or other locator device? Or do  they need something they won’t notice? 
  • If the device has other functions, like reminders, will they be  able to use them? 
  • What level of monitoring is needed? Is a door chime sufficient or do I need a camera?
  • Do I need a device that tells me where they are?

Additional Resources

  • Safety Systems

    Predict The Risk: 50 Safety Checks To Do Today

  • Caregiver Hands

    Where To Look For Support

  • Caregiver hugging elderly woman

    Stages Of Dementia: What To Expect

  • Caregiver assisting senior man out of bed

    Dementia and Skills for Responding to Communication Changes