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What’s The Risk?

Different types of risk will benefit from different kinds of locating technologies. Let’s meet Maria, who lives with dementia, and her husband Ben, who will walk us through scenarios illustrating various risk types. These examples are not exhaustive, and it’s important to remember that a discussion about safety plans and locating technology should be had as early as possible.

After reading about the risk types, click the “Learn More” buttons to get more information on different kinds of locating technologies!

Transition Through Various Types Of Risk


Safe Environment

Maria lives at home with Ben. They travel together most places, and he drives her to and from her regular day program activities where she is supported safely by program staff and volunteers.

Needs: None – but this is the perfect time for Maria and Ben to create a plan in case needs change. Wandering can still occur here (even for people in a long-term care facility or at a day program), so it’s important to be prepared for a person with dementia progressing to a different risk type at any moment.


Found safe/Post-wandering

Maria and Ben went out to the local shopping mall, agreeing to spend some time browsing on their own then meeting at the mall’s information desk after 30 minutes.

When Ben arrived at the information desk, he noticed that Maria wasn’t there. 10 more minutes passed with no sign of her, and Ben started to worry. He notified security, who helped him look for Maria. They eventually found her inside a store with her coffee, chatting with the cashier. Maria explained that she had gotten disoriented on the way back to the information desk, came in the store to ask for help, and ended up chatting without realizing how much time had passed.

Needs: Strategies that can be used at this time include MedicAlert or a cell phone.


Talk of leaving/Anxious

Ben notices that Maria seems to be increasingly agitated during the day, especially in the evening (known as the “sundowning period”). It’s difficult for her to stay engaged at home, and repeatedly talks about wanting to leave and “go home” even though she’s in their house. Ben does his best to help minimize her anxiety, but he worries about her leaving the home without him.

Needs: Strategies that can be used at this time include door sensors/alarms or video surveillance.



Maria woke up in the middle of the night, believing that she was nearly late to work and had to hurry to leave – but she had been retired for 2 years. Maria went out into the cool and rainy fall night without a proper coat and shoes, managing to slip out the door before Ben woke up.

Ben rose a short while later, panicking once he realized Maria wasn’t in bed. He searched the home for her, and once he realized she was gone, called 911 for help.

Needs: Strategies that can be used at this time include tracking devices and first responders.

Learn About Products

You may like to learn more about “Interacting with a person with dementia who may be lost” in one of our four – 15 minute Online Learning modules

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