The Mayo Clinic describes Alzheimer’s and the problem of Wandering: The disease can erase a person’s memory of once-familiar surroundings, as well as make it extremely difficult to adapt to new surroundings. As a result, people who have Alzheimer’s may wander away from their homes or care centers and turn up lost, frightened and disoriented — sometimes far from where they started.
“Wandering is a behavior that happens mainly as a result of declining cognitive skills,” says Beth Kallmyer, director of family and information services at the Alzheimer’s Association in Chicago. “The loss of memory impacts their ability to discern where they are.”
Today, more than 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. That number is expected to grow to 20 million in the coming years, according to Andrew Carle at George Mason University.
More than 60 percent of people who have Alzheimer’s wander at some point, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Often, someone who’s wandering is: searching for something, escaping from something or reliving a past event. This can and does happen often. And it stresses the care giver as much if not more than the afflicted.
While there is no solution to Alzheimer’s or wandering, there is a GPS Tracking device embedded discretely in a walking shoe that will enable care givers to locate a wanderer within a minute, know the direction they are moving and at what speed – walking or in a vehicle.