Disease and the Safely Home Program
We are an aging society. Seniors are the fastest-growing segment of our population. They are also the most likely to have Alzheimer Disease, which is the most common form of dementia. It is an irreversible and progressive disease that gradually damages and destroys nerve cells in the brain.
As the disease progresses, a person experiences changes in his/her mental, emotional, behavioural and physical abilities.
Each person is affected differently. Alzheimer Disease primarily affects people over the age of 65, but it is not a part of normal aging.
An individual with Alzheimer Disease may display the following symptoms or
Is confused and/or disoriented.
Does not understand the current situation or is unable to sort out the obvious, such as his/her name and address, present location, or destination.
Has no idea about the time of day or how much time has passed since leaving home.
Appears fearful, agitated, angry or is crying.
Provides inappropriate responses to simple questions, or does not respond at all.
Is dressed inappropriately. For example, overdressed in the summer months or underdressed during cold weather.
The Alzheimer Society’s “Safely Home Program”
Wandering and/or being lost are two of the more common situations involving persons with Alzheimer Disease. Often the wandering individual is not fully aware of his/her actions. Wandering may occur at any time of the day or night, and the disoriented individual can become lost very easily.
The Safely Home Program was designed to assist Emergency Support Services in the safe and timely return home of individuals with Alzheimer Disease following an episode of wandering.
The Alzheimer Society developed the program, in partnership with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s CPIC Division. A voluntary registry was established that stores vital information about individuals with Alzheimer Disease who are at risk for wandering.
How The Program Works
Caregivers or other guardians, who are concerned about a family member becoming lost and unable to find their way home, register the individual on the Safely Home Program’s “Wandering Persons’ Registry.”
They provide descriptive and background information on the person, including name, address, vital statistics, frequency of wandering, places likely to wander, medical information and contact names. In the event that the registered person goes missing, the family/caregiver contacts the police directly, stating the person is registered with the program.
How To Identify Someone Who Is
Each individual registered with The Safely Home Program is given an identification bracelet. The words “memory loss” as well as a registration number appear on the back of the bracelet. This number provides the link to the Alzheimer database that is managed by the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC).
Identification cards are also issued upon registration. These may be found in a person’s wallet, purse or pocket. Some families/guardians will put name labels on the collars of coats and jackets. Both the identification cards and the labels may be helpful should an individual choose not to wear a bracelet.
To find out more about the Safely Home Program and how to register an individual on the Wandering Persons’ Registry, contact the Alzheimer Society of Niagara at 905-687-3914.