by Max Gottlieb
In last weeks blogpost you read about why people with dementia often wander. Part two gives you tips for what to do if it happens or how to prevent it!
Enrolling someone in a Silver Alert program puts their name and information into a database. If an emergency occurs, the profile is then sent to local police stations or broadcast to the public. In Phoenix, for example, Silver Alerts are broadcast onto official highway message signs. Not every state offers this type of program, but if offered, it is definitely an advantage.
Beyond Silver Alerts, there are new technologies constantly emerging to help wanderers return home more quickly. There are bracelets, tennis shoes, long-range medical alert necklaces, and more that all have GPS tracking devices in them. These technologies are not to replace actual human monitoring, but can provide a little bit of extra help in the worst-case scenario. If someone truly becomes lost, a GPS device can be a lifesaver.
Of course, people cannot be watched every moment of the day, but if you plan ahead, a catastrophe can hopefully be avoided.
In the case of someone becoming lost, only check in the immediate vicinity or known destinations for a short amount of time. If the person cannot be found in the usual places, contact 101(UK) or 911(US) and tell them a vulnerable senior is missing. Once you’ve alerted authorities, you can continue searching. Also, a missing persons report can be filed with the MedicAlert Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return program at 1-800-625-3780 if you live in the US.
For the UK, find more information here: https://www.gov.uk/report-missing-person
For people who are not caregivers: if you see a senior who is alone and looks disoriented, speak to them and gauge whether or not they are okay. Stick with them and contact emergency services if you do not believe they are where they should be. Becoming more educated about wandering, whether it’s planning ahead, supervising someone, or simply asking a stranger if they are all right, can help prevent tragedies from occurring.