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Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2003 Nov-Dec;18(6):343-8.

A look at deaths occurring in persons with dementia lost in the community.

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College of Nursing/Institute of Aging, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.


The purpose of this study was to examine cause of death in persons with dementia (PWDs) who have become lost in the community. The study was a retrospective review of 93 US newspaper articles describing PWDs being found dead in the community after leaving their caregiving situations unattended. Of these PWDs, 87 percent were found dead in natural, secluded, unpopulated areas, such as woods, fields, ditches, and bodies of water. They were generally found less than a mile from where they left, but often were not found for extended periods. Males and persons from community-based residential facilities appear to be at higher risk of dying after leaving unattended than females and those living at home.

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