Wandering is a distressing symptom , especially when accompanied by disruptions of the sleep wake cycle. A loved one being up at night, potentially leaving the house at odd hours, and readily getting lost poses a real strain on the people who care for them. Until the last few years, in which the police more often are trained to recognize a wandering individual, it could be very surprising how far an older person could get, even when stopped by the authorities. The person's superficially intact façade ("I'm just on the way home") soon falls apart with questioning that, while gentle, is still direct, and aimed at knowing what the person understands about their surroundings.
Wandering is very common in dementia, and thus requires that care facilities are designed so as to enable wandering (e.g. with a 'racetrack' design) and not frustrate the wanderer (e.g. with dead ends, or with too easy access to dangerous places, such as stairwells, or directly outside). Recognizing these design features allows you at a glance to know whether a prospective care facility is likely to provide a suitable environment, should the person you care for require a nursing home.