Caregiver's Guide to Enrolling in MedicAlert® NYC
Elizabeth Bravo Santiago
Director of Wanderer's Safety Program
A caregiver helps the person they are caring for every day with all kinds of tasks and has countless roles. Whether it be grocery shopping, meal preparations, taking the person with dementia to the doctor or managing medication, caregivers have many responsibilities for that person’s health and safety.
A caregiver’s responsibilities can become very demanding and, over time, exhausting and stressful. The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia affects not only the person diagnosed, but everyone who cares for them.
The MedicAlert® NYC Wanderer’s Safety program provides identification jewelry for people with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia to protect them in the event that they wander, and also provides a valuable option specifically designed for caregivers. While completing the application for their relative with cognitive impairment to enroll in the Wanderer’s Safety Program, the primary caregivers can also apply to receive their own caregiver identification product. For members who are already enrolled, caregivers can submit a separate application filling out only the information in the optional caregiver enrollment section.
Caregivers should complete the entire section that pertains to their health, including medical conditions, medications, any known drug or food allergies, and emergency contact information.
Caregivers have a choice of a necklace or bracelet. While we recommend the bracelet for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia who enroll in the program because it is difficult to take off on one’s own, caregivers should note that if they select the bracelet for themselves that they should add an additional half inch to the wrist measurement, so that the bracelet doesn’t fit too tightly.
Although we require current photographs of enrollees with cognitive impairment, caregivers do not need to submit a picture of themselves. When the application is submitted, the caregiver's information will be linked to the information that we have for the person they are caring for.
Taking advantage of this enrollment will help you have some peace of mind while at home or out in the community. In the event of an emergency where you are unable to care for your relative, your caregiver identification jewelry will indicate to others that you are the caregiver of a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia, and that this person must be helped. Once the Wanderer’s Safety Program staff is notified of your emergency, we will contact the people that you have designated to assist with care until you are able to do so again. Additionally, the Wanderer’s Safety Program staff can communicate your personal health information disclosed in your application to emergency responders.
The MedicAlert NYC Caregiver Service provides the following:
- A bracelet or pendant with an inscription stating who you are the CAREGIVER FOR _.
- The 24/7 Emergency Hotline number, 800-625-3780, and family notification service.
- Your assigned alphanumeric code that will be linked to your personal health record.
- All the resources of CaringKind will be available to your emergency contact to help them provide care for the person with Alzheimer’s or dementia in your absence.
Taking this precaution is an important way to take care of yourself and to give yourself some peace of mind that the person you’re caring for will be attended to while you recover from an emergency.
Scholarships are available for the initial enrollment of all new members and caregivers through generous support from the New York City Council and other funders.
Please visit caringkindnyc.org/wandersafety to learn more, download the MedicAlert NYC Wanderer’s Safety Program application, or enroll in the program online. You can also call the 24-hour Helpline at 646-744-2900 if you have any questions or concerns.