Georgia: Alzheimer’s Association Teaches Gwinnett County Police About Mattie’s Call and Missing Seniors
Kim Franklin of the Georgia Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association recently spoke to the Gwinnett County Police Department Citizen’s Police Academy Alumni Association about the law enforcement issues surrounding missing seniors.
From the article “Specialized training helps public safety deal with Alzheimer’s, dementia patients” Franklin talked about cases of seniors who travel great distances while missing, often crossing state lines.
Franklin cited several examples, including an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s who wandered out of her home where her husband was in the other room in April 2004. Her remains were found on Christmas Eve of that year, only 500 yards from her house. Likewise, a man with dementia left his home by car at 9 a.m. to go to the store in his neighborhood. Seven hours later, he ran over a curb in a yard four counties away. And, an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s got on a Greyhound bus in New York City to Atlanta with many stops in between. Seven days later, she was found by someone back in NYC.
Franklin discussed best practices for finding missing seniors, including Mattie’s Call in Georgia and Silver Alert programs in other states.
“We usually tell families to search the general area for the missing person for 15 minutes, and if you do not immediately find the person call police to report the person missing,” Franklin said. “In the state of Georgia, there is no wait period to report a person with Alzheimer’s, dementia or any other cognitive impairment missing.”
“We also encourage families to request that a Mattie’s Call be implemented ASAP, which is done through the police,” Franklin said. “We have more luck getting the person home quickly the sooner the Mattie’s Call is done.”
A Mattie’s Call is an urgent bulletin from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. In addition, a Mattie’s Call utilizes the A Child Is Missing (ACIM) telephone response system and the Georgia Lottery System to spread the word.