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Mum has started wandering


Registered User
Jan 23, 2016

My mum was diagnosed with dementia about three years ago. She lives on her own in a small town (where lots of people know or at least recognise her) and has been in the habit of walking to the shops several times a day for the last year or so. Although she buys lots of useless stuff, I have not been overly concerned about it as it is only about a 10 minute walk, gives her a bit of exercise and I think it relieves her boredom.

However, this evening I have had a call to let me know that a neighbour has found her wandering along the main road out of town (from what they've told me, she would have been about a mile outside of town by the time they found her) I'm obviously concerned about this. She wears an identity bracelet, but she could have been knocked over by car (the road she was on has no pavements and no street lights)

I've called my local memory clinic crisis line, and they are coming to visit her tomorrow but was wondering what experience other people have of relatives wandering, and any suggestions as to what I can do?

Other than the wandering, she is very independent: she washes herself, dresses herself and prepares her own food (in a microwave.) I visit once a week and she has carers in every day to check she is ok but she generally refuses to let them do anything to help her!

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
We had a year of my husband wandering and it was hell! I won't bore you with the escalation but it involved strangers, police, phone calls, reports to social services etc. I bought a tracker for £200 which was linked to my phone and told me where he was so the police could pick him up. By that time he was getting on buses. He doesn't know his address and can't find his own way home.

Meanwhile the CPN was gradually increasing his Trazadone and that finally got him calmed down so that although the desire to wander is still there he is easily talked out of it now. The truth is that it is so dangerous that a care home will be suggested if it cannot be stopped.

Best wishes, I feel for you both.


Registered User
May 21, 2014
Get a referral to telecare. They can provide you with door alarms and trackers. You shouldn't have to buy them.


Registered User
Jan 23, 2016
Thanks, the tracker sounds like a great idea, I'll see whether we can get a funded one or not tomorrow - but it's definitely worth spending £200 for the peace of mind!


Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
I would suggest that you persuade her to go to a lunch club each day and possibly look at sheltered or extra care housing - a flat with a care team on site which you can buy into as and when but a good one will keep an eye on people generally.

My Mum wasn't a wanderer but that was because we kept her fully occupied. When the memory starts to fail then the concept of time goes and when that happens it is really confusing for people and they go looking for things. A lunch club or day centre really keeps people occupied. Meanwhile I would book as many things as possible to fill the day and also have a carer morning and night


Registered User
Jan 28, 2013
South Coast
Cheaper trackers on Ebay

Had a very similar situation here with my wife and found a great tracker on EBay (new) for under £50. She had "escaped" a couple of times and I was frantic, tho typically she has not tried to escape since I purchased it!! The tracker can set up a guard zone to inform your phone if the tracker strays out of the parameters you have set up. You can also call the tracker from your phone and it links to Google maps with a flashing icon to show where it is. Lasts 2 weeks between recharges.
However situation here is very different as we live together and my wife is never left alone. I would tend to agree with Marionq that this is such a potentially dangerous tendency for someone living alone that a CH or 24/7 care at home is likely to be now on the agenda..... Very sad situation as her village location has been so good in helping to maintain her independence thus far - the journey we are all on is not easy and takes so many twists and turns along the way.
Bless both of you.


Registered User
Jan 23, 2016
Thanks for the replies, they've been really useful.

Mum's starting at a day centre where they do lots of activities this week (Monday to Friday) with carers to top up the rest of the time. I've taken a few weeks off work so I can move in with her temporarily to see how she copes with it and if it reduces her tendency to wander, but also it means I'll be more available if she does go off - she now has a tracker with a boundary set which alerts me if she goes off track.

If nothing else, it'll give me a bit of breathing room to look into the local residential homes so I don't feel forced into making a snap decision...


Registered User
Apr 5, 2010
Be careful Mum doesn't see you as always being there or she could get much worse when you return home. She will spend her day and night looking for you.

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