Objective: This study aimed to understand the circumstances in which people with dementia become lost, and the outcomes of these incidents.
Methods: A search was conducted of news articles published in Australia between 2011 and 2015 reporting a missing person with a diagnosis of dementia.
Results: Over the five-year period, 130 missing person cases were reported. The average age of the missing person was 75 years with more men (74%) than women reported missing. Most missing persons travelled on foot (62%) and were last seen at home (66%). The newspaper reports described 92 (71%) of the individuals being found. Of these, 60% were found well, 20% were found injured, and 20% were deceased.
Conclusions: People with dementia are at risk of becoming lost from their homes or health-care settings, and this can have catastrophic outcomes. Care strategies need to focus on promoting autonomy while ensuring adverse outcomes are minimised.
Keywords: becoming lost; dementia; elopement; missing person; wandering.
© 2018 AJA Inc.