The Informal Caregivers' Perception of Wandering

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Alzheimer’s disease, wandering, dementia, caregivers, perception, lost, missing incident

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Although the term wandering is routinely used by clinicians, researchers, and informal caregivers (ICs), the meaning of this term varies depending on the source of the definition and the context in which it is used. The purpose of this study was to examine the terms ICs used to describe different scenarios that have been identified in literature as “wandering,” determine their perception of risk, and compare their definitions of wandering with the perspectives of researchers. Structured interviews were conducted with 128 ICs of older adults with dementia. Informal Caregivers rarely used the term wandering to label different scenarios that had been previously identified in the literature as wandering. Responses to a survey of 17 wandering experts did not reflect agreement on a definition for wandering. These findings suggest that a broad set of terms should be used to describe this potentially dangerous behavior when health care providers communicate with ICs.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease & Other Dementias, v. 26, issue 8, p. 616-622