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This content is taken from the University of Birmingham's online course, Dementia: Understanding and Managing Challenging Behaviour. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds SPEAKER: In relation to Peter’s eating, he’s in good health and he’s not taking any medication that would cause him to be drowsy or affect his sense of taste. There’s no back dentures, nor does there appear to be any pain when he’s eating. Peter wears glasses while he’s eating and continues to be able to use a knife and fork. When at home, Peter had a well-established routine. However, in the nursing home, routines are considerably different. Peter used to enjoy silence in the morning. Now breakfast is encumbered by staff chatting and the television being on. Peter drank filtered coffee, but in the nursing home only instant coffee is offered.

Skip to 0 minutes and 40 seconds Similarly, now the main meal is served at lunchtime, rather than in the evening, which Peter was used to. Peter used to enjoy having a glass or two of wine with his evening meal. Staff report that Peter wanders all day and often tries to leave the home. When they try to return him to his chair, he becomes agitated. He wanders around the garden and the gardener has noticed that Peter moves his tools around. Staff have asked Peter about his wandering. He often says, he’s looking for the music room, or that he’s looking for Margaret, presumably a reference to his late wife. It’s important to consider for whom this wandering is a problem.

Skip to 1 minute and 18 seconds Is Peter’s wandering causing problems for him or for those around him? Some people wander because of boredom. Some people wander because they’re looking for the toilet. Or they might be looking for food, because they’re hungry. It’s common for people to wander and be looking for someone they feel they might have lost. Alternatively, looking for a way home. It’s important to look beyond the behaviour and to consider what Peter’s wandering might mean for him.


As you watch the video on this page, think about the problems Peter is experiencing, and possible solutions.

  • What are the major differences in Peter’s meals after he moves to the care home?
  • How might these affect Peter?
  • What could be done to help Peter adjust?
  • Is Peter’s wandering causing problems for him, or for others around him?

Share your thoughts with your fellow learners in the Comments.

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This video is from the free online course:

Dementia: Understanding and Managing Challenging Behaviour

University of Birmingham