Background: Wandering and fecal smearing (scatolia) are among the problematic behaviors in dementia, and many caregivers are troubled by these behaviors. The purpose of this study was to clarify the clinical characteristics of patients with these symptoms.
Methods: We performed a questionnaire survey. The questionnaire items were the age, sex, living environment, diagnosis, cognitive function, and activities of daily living. Other clinical characteristics were evaluated using the quality of life (QOL) questionnaire for dementia.
Results: A total of 246 patients with dementia were rated. Wandering was observed frequently in 23%, sometimes in 12%, rarely in 14%, and never in 51% of the patients; scatolia was observed frequently in 2%, sometimes in 8%, rarely in 15%, and never in 75%. Wanderers were more frequent among those with severe dementia. They displayed more restlessness, positive affect and attachment to others with respect to QOL. The patients with scatolia tended to get lower scores in tests of cognitive function and displayed more negative affect/actions with respect to QOL. Both wanderers and patients with scatolia suffered from insomnia more frequently.
Conclusions: These results suggest that both wandering and scatolia are behavioral symptoms intimately associated with cognitive dysfunction and insomnia.