According to the Canadian Centre for Information on Missing Adults (CCIMA), 100,000 adults go missing every year across Canada. Many of those who are missing have intentionally dropped out of sight due to financial or family problems, suffer from mental illness or were the victim of a crime. But a growing number of seniors suffering from all stages of dementia go missing frequently.
In Ontario, nearly 200,000 people over the age of 65 suffer from dementia and according to Senior Care Canada, three out of five of those will go missing at some point. Because the risk of injury or even death rises for those missing longer than 24 hours, it is important for caregivers to have a plan in place should their loved-one wander off. There is no legal waiting period to report a missing person to police.
In reaction to these statistics and a growing number of seniors, the Government of Ontario has helped fund a multi-lingual wandering prevention program. Finding Your Way is a kit which is designed to ensure the safety of people with dementia while maintaining their dignity. Each kit includes a space for a recent photo and physical description that may be shared with police during an emergency as well as safety steps to help prevent missing incidents and information on the what to do should a loved-one with dementia go missing. There is also information about the Alzheimer’s Society’s MediAlert Safely Home Program and the latest locating devices.
For more information about the Finding Your Way program, visit http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/on/Finding-Your-Way and to learn more about Project Lifesaver visit www.projectlifesaver.org .
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