Wandering Behaviour: Ensuring Safety for Your Loved One

Caring for a loved one with dementia involves understanding their unique journey and finding ways to support their identity throughout the progression of the disease. This blog addresses a common question among caregivers: How can I support my loved one's identity as their dementia progresses? We provide practical advice, insights, and strategies to help you navigate this challenge while preserving their dignity and individuality.

Validate Their Feelings and Experiences

  • Acknowledge and validate their emotions, even if their thoughts or memories may be confused or inaccurate.
  • Provide a supportive and understanding environment, allowing them to express themselves freely.

Engage in Reminiscence and Life Story Work

  • Encourage conversations and activities that evoke positive memories, such as looking at photo albums or listening to familiar music.
  • Engaging in reminiscence therapy and life story work can strengthen connections to their past and reinforce their sense of identity.

Respect Personal Preferences

  • Honour their personal choices and preferences, such as their favourite foods, clothing styles, or activities.
  • Adapt tasks and routines to incorporate activities they enjoy, promoting a sense of autonomy and individuality.

Foster Meaningful Connections

  • Facilitate social interactions with family, friends, and other individuals who can provide a sense of familiarity and belonging.
  • Engage in activities that encourage shared experiences and connections, fostering a supportive network around them.

Embrace Creative Expression

  • Encourage creative outlets, such as art, music, or writing, to provide opportunities for self-expression and tapping into their unique talents.
  • Embracing creativity can promote a sense of accomplishment and pride, reinforcing their identity.
Remember, each person's journey with dementia is unique, and it's essential to tailor these strategies to their needs and abilities. You can create a positive and empowering caregiving environment by nurturing their identity and preserving their dignity.

If you need additional support or guidance, don't hesitate to contact healthcare professionals, dementia support groups, or organizations specializing in dementia care. They can provide valuable resources and connect you with others who share similar experiences.


Supporting your loved one's identity is an integral part of dementia caregiving. By validating their emotions, engaging in reminiscence activities, respecting their preferences, fostering connections, and embracing creative expression, you can help them maintain their sense of self and dignity. Remember, every effort you make to preserve their identity contributes to their well-being and quality of life.

As you navigate this journey, know that you are not alone. Seek support from fellow caregivers, share experiences, and prioritize self-care. Together, we can create a nurturing and empowering environment for our loved ones with dementia.

1 Comment

  1. Lisa Richardson  01/02/2024 11:48 AM Central
    Lots of truths here. So difficult... helps to have this framework that's for sure. Thank you.
    Dr. Naomi Dongelmans AUTHOR  05/31/2024 08:44 AM Central
    Hello Lisa,

    I'm glad to hear that you found the framework helpful. Navigating the challenges of dementia care can indeed be difficult, but having the right strategies can make a big difference. Keep holding onto those truths and remember that your dedication and compassion truly make a positive impact. You're doing an amazing job!

    Warm regards, Naomi

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