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fugue, wander away,... Options
onsen
Posted: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 9:04:50 AM
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Hello,

I don’t know what their behaviour is called in English.
It is in most cases about old people. They go out somewhere by day or at night, perhaps not letting people around them know where they will go. In the worst case, they don’t or can’t return to their home without the help of other people or the city authorities of where they live. Some people say their behaviour is related to dementia.
I looked up the dictionary and found as follows.

fugue (fyo͞og) n.
2. Psychiatry A dissociative state, usually caused by trauma, marked by sudden travel or wandering away from home and an inability to remember one's past.
https://www.thefreedictionary.com/fugue

wander away (from someone or something)
and wander off (from someone or something)
to roam away from someone or something. The little boy wandered away from his mother. He wandered off from his sister. The dog wandered off.
https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/wander+away

loiter around, loiter over something (in addition)

My questions:
1. Is 'fugue' adequate?
2. I suppose 'wander away' and 'wander off' don’t describe their behaviour accurately.
3. What is the vocabulary (nouns, verbs) mostly and generally used in such a case?

Thank you

pjharvey
Posted: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 10:06:40 AM
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I think the disease causing the behaviour you describe is Alzheimer disease.
Sarrriesfan
Posted: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 10:40:10 AM

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Location: Luton, England, United Kingdom
There are several diseases that could cause the symptoms that onsen has described Alzheimer's disease is probably well known, I would agree.

Wander or wandering describes these symptoms and would for me be natural.
The British NHS page for symptoms of Mid-stage Alzheimer's disease in includes the following quite.
Quote:
increasing confusion and disorientation – for example, getting lost, or wandering and not knowing what time of day it is


To describe someone as being in a fugue state is more a formal description of their condition that might be used by medical personnel or in a legal document about their condition. Most ordinary people would not use it.



I lack the imagination for a witty signature.
Romany
Posted: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 12:39:58 PM
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom


Gosh, Sarries,

Until I read your last sentence I hadn't realised that. Because it's a word that, for a number of reasons, I've been very familiar with for a long time.

But then I realised that, while I'm comfortable with writing or reading it, I have never said it in my life! The reason? Because I'm genuinely unsure which way to pronounce it!Anxious

(Which then led me to wonder if that's not the reason it doesn't trip fluently from the tongue of the "ordinary" person? We all have known this word from infancy - but shrink from it's usage for fear of social ostracism.Dancing )Whistle Whistle

Sarrriesfan
Posted: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 3:37:34 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/30/2016
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Neurons: 4,989
Location: Luton, England, United Kingdom
Romany wrote:


Gosh, Sarries,

Until I read your last sentence I hadn't realised that. Because it's a word that, for a number of reasons, I've been very familiar with for a long time.

But then I realised that, while I'm comfortable with writing or reading it, I have never said it in my life! The reason? Because I'm genuinely unsure which way to pronounce it!Anxious

(Which then led me to wonder if that's not the reason it doesn't trip fluently from the tongue of the "ordinary" person? We all have known this word from infancy - but shrink from it's usage for fear of social ostracism.Dancing )Whistle Whistle



I pronounce it the same way BBC Radio 3 does when they broadcast a performance of J.S.Bachs Toccata and Fugue in D minor.

You'll know the music even if you don't recognise the name, it's the organ music that mad villains play in movies on large organs.

I lack the imagination for a witty signature.
mactoria
Posted: Thursday, December 07, 2017 12:37:56 AM
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Location: Stockton, California, United States
Onsen: You and other commenters are writing about two different things: 1) a person with dementia's inability to remember how/why/where to go home is "wandering" or "roaming" or similar words; 2) "fugue state" (as indicated by the definition you printed) is one in which a person has been traumatized (mental and/or physical and/or emotional) to the point that they stop knowing who they are. A person in a "fugue state" is not demented (the adjective form of "dementia") in that he is not enfeebled due to a degenerative neurological condition), but instead has a mental health disturbance caused by a trauma that can be (and usually is) treated to the point of returning the person to full pre-fugue functioning. To be in a "fugue state" can be analogized to being in a sort of fog wherein a person forgets who is, often because to remember who he is, is too painful to deal with. A person with dementia may feel anxiety or fear because they can't remember things (their names, their families, where their home is, etc.), but it's not caused from a sudden trauma, it's caused from a degeneration of the brain.

So if your question is "about old people" who can't find their way home, "fugue" is not at all the correct term to use; it's a mental health term not commonly used by laypeople and not accurate here. Using terms like "wandering away" or "losing their memory" are layman's ways of describing the behavior of someone with dementia.
onsen
Posted: Thursday, December 07, 2017 1:51:55 AM
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Joined: 9/14/2017
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Neurons: 2,120
mactoria wrote:
So if your question is "about old people" who can't find their way home, "fugue" is not at all the correct term to use; it's a mental health term not commonly used by laypeople and not accurate here. Using terms like "wandering away" or "losing their memory" are layman's ways of describing the behavior of someone with dementia.


Thank you very much, mactoria.

Then what is the correct term for the state or condition of people who wander away?
Romany
Posted: Thursday, December 07, 2017 10:43:28 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 13,355
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Onsen - posters have been giving you the terms: such people "wander", they "lose their memory", they "wander off" or "wander away".

There is no way a lay person can tell if an old person has dementia, Alzheimers, a stroke, a mental breakdown......wandering off is a symptom of many different illnesses and, simply, of getting old. Everybody knows what it means - so we tell the Doctor "She hasn't been eating well and she's started wandering." The doctor then uses that as a starting point to finding out why the patient does it.
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