Safety First

Elizabeth Bravo Santiago,
Director of Wanderer's Safety Program

Six out of ten persons with Alzheimer’s will wander away from home and become lost. Wandering can be dangerous and life-threatening.

CaringKind offers a low-tech identification bracelet that saves lives! In collaboration with the New York City Police Department and the MedicAlert Foundation, CaringKind MedicAlertNYC Wanderers Safety Program is a 24-hour nationwide emergency response service for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia who wander or have a medical emergency.

When a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease is Missing:

  • Begin to search the immediate area.
  • If the person is not located quickly dial 911. Inform the operator if the person has diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and you believe they have wandered.
  • The 911 operator will begin to ask you questions. You are now considered the reporter. This can be a very emotional and trying time but try to respond to the operator’s questions to the best of your ability. The more detail you provide, the easier it will be for the police to locate the missing person.
  • It’s important that you remain on the site where the person went missing until the police arrive.
  • When the police arrive, they will begin to ask questions like:
    What is the missing person’s name and do they have a nickname?
    Do you have a current photo?
    What medical conditions does the person have?
    When was the person last seen?
    Was the missing person’s I.D. left behind?
  • The police may ask for a garment that belongs to the missing person so they can use it if they choose to include a K-9 dog in the search.
  • Provide the police officer with MedicAlert 24-Hour Emergency Line 1-800-625-3780 so they can call in the report as soon as possible. This applies even if the person is not currently enrolled in the MedicAlert Wanderers Safety Program.
  • Police officers will begin patrolling the streets and surrounding area.
  • Police officers may return to the reporter’s home to update the caregiver with any news.
  • With permission from the family a missing person bulletin will be e-mailed and faxed to, Hospitals, Emergency Rooms, Admitting Departments and other local agencies within the 5 boroughs.
  • Once the incident report is called into MedicAlert they will generated a Missing Person Incident Report and contact CaringKind. We will assist by reaching out to the family to provide emotional support.
  • We are always available to assist caregivers, providing support during the period when a person with dementia is missing, and afterwards to provide guidance and care planning to ensure the safety of the person with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.

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