Wandering and getting lost are serious problems for people with dementia, especially since it happens so unpredictably. A person can wander off unexpectedly - even when you think they're safe - and then can't remember the way back home. Or, one day, out of the blue, they're out the door, off to a job that's no longer there or searching for someone they truly believe is still in their care, like a late parent or a grown up child. And sometimes they leave home desperately searching for their "real" home because they no longer recognize where they're living. Sometimes they get lost, just looking for a familiar place, like the bathroom. Or the person may pace and constantly move about, increasing their chances of getting lost. And finally, they may get agitated and storm off: for example, they may be bored, disturbed by too much noise, or upset by side effects from certain medications.
What makes wandering difficult is that we're all so accustomed to leaving home whenever we want - and people with dementia are no exception. But at some point in the disease, the person you care for will get lost if they go out alone and we cannot say when that moment will come.