Wandering along the beach

Combine beachBefore a diagnosis of dementia, if I went walking,

Even if it was ‘wandering’ through a shopping centred for pleasure,

It was still referred to as walking

Wandering along the beach with the sand between my toes

Was still considered walking

When I go walking, even if I get lost, I am not a wanderer… I am a person

Sometimes people like to go for walks, even people with dementia

Sometimes people get lost, even people without dementia

Sometimes people walk because they are looking for something, even people with dementia

Sometimes people go walking because they are bored, even people with dementia

Sometimes people go walking because they might be trying to “escape”

Or “manage” the boredom of living in an aged care facility

They might be feeling like they are in prison…

Locked up even when they are not criminals…

Sometimes people walk for exercise, even people with dementia.

Before aged care, people were involved in habitual walking almost all the time…

Walking to the kitchen to get a cup of tea,

Walking to the bathroom,

Walking to the shed,

Walking to the clothesline,

Walking to the shops…

Living in aged care does not mean people with dementia wish to stop walking

Oddly, before a diagnosis dementia, doctors tell us to get or keep fit,

And that walking is one of the best exercises for us…

Even more oddly, when we have dementia, this must stop

As then walking is referred to as wandering,

A challenging behaviour that needs managing

People with dementia are still “real” people

Living their lives just as they did before acquiring the label of dementia

People with dementia are not wanderers, poor feeders, aggressives, or demented sufferers

People with dementia still wish to live well

But get very little support from others for well-being or for improving our quality of life

Including to go walking

Walking is good for us and fun…

It is not a challenging behaviour.

Ps for anyone wanting to print this, as requested by one reader, here’s a PDF Wandering along the beach

15 thoughts on “Wandering along the beach

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  5. Hi Kate, thank you for your post. I have seen people classified as “Wanderer’s” in aged care facilities who can barely walk unaided in order to increase funding from the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI). I think there is a real potential for fraud and undue reimbursement under the ACFI model. Grumpiness can be misconstrued as aggression, melancholy seen as depression and need for solitude regarded as social isolation. Classified as BPSD this only increases the objectification of people who are experiencing human feelings that can effect all of us at different times. The scary thing is that once classified invariably the medication bottle starts rattling. Warm regards and respect, Giles.


    • Totally agree… I’ve been suggesting to the Australian government their funding model encourages poor care, and have suggested for years providers get higher funding when residents remain mobile, continent and have no ‘BPSD’! Think how much they’d save… and HOW MUCH HAPPIER RESIDENTS WOULD BE!


  6. Pingback: Walking… it’s good for you! |

  7. Pingback: Let’s wander together… |

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