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University of South Florida · College of Behavioral & Community Sciences · Rehabilitation & Mental Health Counseling

Deterring exit-seeking in home-dwelling elderly with dementia presented at the Gerontological Society of America

Dr. William Kearns, with colleagues from the Veterans Administration presented a poster on visual exit barriers as a way to deter exit-seeking in home-dwelling elderly with dementia at the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America.   Persons with dementia who wander are at high risk of death from exposure or accidents if lost and not quickly found, and those that do not wander away but persist in such behaviors are at risk for falls, fractures and other injuries, weight loss, fatigue and sleep disturbances.  Traditional methods to manage exit-seeking and wandering behaviors include physical restraints and pharmacology, but these can be harmful.   Subjective or "visual exit barriers" to deter exit-seeking offer an attractive alternative because these interventions are non-invasive, low-cost and simple to use.  For more about the findings or this study, contact Dr. Kearns at kearns@usf.edu.
 
Moore, D. H., Houston, A. M., Kearns, W. D., & Fozard, J. L. (2013, November). Visual exit barriers: Deter exit-seeking in home-dwelling elderly with dementia? Poster presented at the meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, New Orleans, LA.