Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology have published a study that examined the tendency of people with dementia to wander and become lost. As a result, the Australian researchers recommend that a Silver Alert system, similar to Amber Alerts for missing children, be activated when someone with the diagnosis of dementia is reported lost.
Led by Dr. Margie MacAndrew from the QUT-based Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration: Carers and Consumers (DCRC-CC), the paper on the research outcomes — ‘People with dementia getting lost in Australia: Dementia-related missing person reports in Australia’ — has just been published in the Australasian Journal on Ageing.
From the story at Science Daily:
“In our study, most people were found within five km of the place from which they went missing although one person managed to travel 800km. However, like the US, most of those found dead were very close to home.
“The findings suggest that people living independently in the community, along with those in aged care facilities, may need to undergo routine assessment to identity risk of wandering and the negative outcomes associated with it.
“We also recommend current approaches to coordinating a search and rescue attempt should include, careful searching in the immediate vicinity the person was last seen, particularly outbuildings and garden areas, should be given priority.
“Rapid reporting within one hour of knowing a person is missing is also known to help search and rescue have a better chance of finding a person alive and well.”