Wandering behaviour from the perspectives of older adults living with mild to moderate dementia in long-term care homes
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Wandering is often described as “aimless walking” and “disruptive”. Kitwood’s Enriched Model of Dementia challenges us to focus on the person, not the behaviour. This exploratory study addressed a gap in the literature on wandering behaviour by gaining the perspectives of older adults living with mild to moderate dementia in long-term care homes and their family members. Walking interviews were conducted with eight older adults. Family members provided additional information on their relatives’ walking history. Key themes were: walking as enjoyable and good, walking for health benefits, walking as purposeful, walking as a lifelong habit, walking as a form of socialization, walking as a coping strategy, and walking to find and be with animals. These results suggest a reconceptualization of wandering from aimless walking and a disruption to a purposeful and beneficial activity. The findings form the groundwork for future studies on promoting safe walking for older adults living with dementia.
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