Gets lost, even on familiar routes

  All Alzheimer's Symptoms

When it happens

Mild-stage dementia

Why it happens

Memory loss combines with disorientation caused by "motion blindness," the inability to perceive motion well and navigate the environment.

What you can do

  • Know that getting lost can happen at any time, even on a walk or drive the person has made hundreds of times.

  • Know, too, that if it happens once, it's likely to happen again; institute the buddy system, even for routine errands and outings.

  • Be sure the person is carrying or wearing identification. Consider ID bracelets, tags, or other jewelry.

  • Realize that getting lost on the road is a big red flag that it's no longer safe to drive.

  • Disorientation combines with other changes in skills key to safe driving: staying in the lane, judging distances and speed, gauging how far away cars are, making quick decisions, maintaining quick reaction time, and more.

  • Alert neighbors to the person's dementia status so you have more friendly helpers able to guide the person back home.

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