Lost Alzheimer’s sufferers brought safely home

Local RCMP are drawing the public’s attention to Safely Home. The nation-wide program is designed to help people with Alzheimer’s disease who may get lost be found quickly and safely.

Sometimes people with the disease lose their ability to remember personal details like their name and address and become confused and disoriented.

“Studies show that when a person with Alzheimer’s is lost for more than 12 hours they have a 50 per cent chance of being injured or even dying, ” says Const. Kathleen Chomik of the Red Deer rural RCMP.

The program is working, says Chomik. “Generally we get one or two calls every week or two.” Individuals registered with the program wear a bracelet inscribed with their name, a registration number, and the words: MEMORY LOSS CALL POLICE.

If a member of the public encounters an individual with Alzheimer’s who is wandering, they should check for the bracelet, advises Donna Durand, regional manager of the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories (ASANT).

“Remain calm and reassuring and call the police.”

The confidential database details locations registrants tend to frequent. When the RCMP receives a call, they are able to match the registration number on the bracelet to the identity of the lost individual. Caregivers can also call police if the person in their care has gone missing.

Safely Home fits within the ASANT’s mandate to increase awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. About 40,000 Albertans have dementia and the province has the highest number of early onset diagnoses in Canada.

With a high population of seniors in the area, Durand speculates that the number of people who suffer from the disease might be higher in Central Alberta than other parts of the province. As the population continues to age, the program’s importance will only increase, she said.

For further information or to register for the program, visit www.safelyhome.ca.

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