With more than 5.4 million Americans currently living with Alzheimer’s disease and approximately 500,000 new cases of this disease emerging each year, projections show that there will be as many as 16 million Americans that will have Alzheimer’s disease by 2050.
Memory loss, impairment in cognitive function, agitation, delusions, and hallucinations are just some of the characteristics of this disease. Wandering (or getting lost) occurs in approximately 60% of people with Alzheimer’s disease and of these 72% will wander more than once.
Throughout November, IACP’s Alzheimer’s Initiatives team will be doing outreach to ensure that law enforcement is aware of the resources and tools that are available through this program. Understanding this disease and learning how to recognize the signs and symptoms is critical for first responders. To find out more information, please visit www.theiacp.org/alzheimers.
IACP’s Alzheimer’s Initiatives program has developed a new resource to aid law enforcement in working with this special population: Locative Technologies 101. This tool outlines the advantages and disadvantages of each type of system that is available for assisting law enforcement and caregivers in tracking those with the potential to wander. It is arranged in three distinct types of technologies including Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), and Network Assisted GPS (AGPS) or hybrid technologies and also has photos to aid in identifying a device.
The brochure also gives an overview of the Alzheimer’s Association + Safe Return Medic Alert bracelet program. The program is a 24-hour nationwide emergency response service for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia who wander or have a medical emergency. If an individual goes missing and is registered with this program, law enforcement can access vital information about this patient by calling the support line. Caregivers can also call to report someone missing, therefore activating local support resources for the caregiver.