Behavioral disturbances of elders with dementia are prevalent. Yet the science guiding development and testing of effective intervention strategies is limited by rudimentary and often‐conflicting theories. Using a theory‐synthesis approach conducted within the perspective of the need‐driven dementia‐compromised behavior model, this article presents the locomoting responses to environment in elders with dementia (LRE‐EWD) model. This new model, based on empirical and theoretical evidence, integrates the role of emotion with that of cognition in explicating a person‐environment dynamic supporting wandering and other dementia‐related disturbances. Included is evidence of the theory's testability and elaboration of its implications. The LRE‐EWD model resolves conflicting views and evidence from current research on environmental interventions for behavior disturbances and opens new avenues to advance this field of study and practice.