Wandering and Dementia (Statistics)

Estimated Number of People with Alzheimers in 2015 and projected number in 2030. 

  • In Los Angeles, 166,540 people are estimated to have had Alzheimers in 2015 with 278,806 projected to have Alzheimers in 2030.
  • In Orange County, 50,896 people are estimated to have had Alzheimers in 2015, with 88,639 projected to have Alzheimers in 2030.
  • In Riverside County, 34,949 people are estimated to have had Alzheimers in 2015, with 57,460 projected to have Alzheimers in 2030.
  • In San Bernardino County, 27,883 people are estimated to have had Alzheimers in 2015, with 54,254 projected to have Alzheimers in 2030.
  • In Ventura County, 13,884 people are estimated to have had Alzheimers in 2015, with 25,481 projected to have Alzheimers in 2030. 

Six in 10 people with dementia will wander. A person with Alzheimer's may not remember his or her name or address, and can become disoriented, even in familiar places. Wandering among people with dementia is dangerous, but there are strategies and services to help prevent it.

Anyone who has memory problems and is able to walk is at risk for wandering. Even in the early stages of dementia, a person can become disoriented or confused for a period of time. It's important to plan ahead for this type of situation. Be on the lookout for the following warning signs:

Wandering and getting lost is common among people with dementia and can happen during any stage of the disease. 

  • Returns from a regular walk or drive later than usual
  • Forgets how to get to familiar places.
  • Talks about fulfilling former obligations, such as going to work
  • Tries or wants to "go home," even when at home
  • Is restless, paces or makes repetitive movements
  • Has difficulty locating familiar places like the bathroom, bedroom or dining room
  • Asks the whereabouts of past friends and family
  • Acts as if doing a hobby or chore, but nothing gets done (e.g., moves around pots and dirt without actually planting anything).

Sources: California Alzheimers Association and Alzheimers Association of Greater Los Angeles