of National Safety Month, the Alzheimer's Association reminds
caregivers of its Safe Return Program, the only nationwide
program to assist in the identification and safe return of
Alzheimer's and dementia patients who wander and become lost.
in 1993, Safe Return Program was designed to assist families
and caregivers with this common and potentially life-threatening
potentially life-threatening behavior affects nearly six in
every 10 Alzheimer's patients who may wander at some point.
Many will do so repeatedly.
for wandering are various, and include side effects from medicine,
stress, confusion, agitation, and an inability to recognize
familiar people, place and things.
fewer than four percent will make it back home on their own
(see earlier Alzheimer's
the Safe Return Program has registered almost 86,000 individuals
throughout the nation, and has helped locate and return 6,810
people to families and caregivers.
fee includes identification products, national photo and information
database, a 24-hour, toll-free emergency hotline, local chapter
support, and wandering behavior education and training for
caregivers and families.
has offered these 10 tips to help deal with wandering:
prepared - there's no way to predict who will wander or
shared exercises to reduce anxiety and restlessness.
objective, and don't take the wandering personally.
aware of household and neighborhood hazards.
your home safe and secure.
and reassure the patient that you know how to find him.
the person, with a bracelet or necklace, and mark clothing,
keys, eyeglasses and other belongings.
your neighbors and keep names and numbers handy.
the police, who often keep photos and fingerprints of patients
aware of other modes of wandering, including cars, trains,
airplanes and public transportation.
information, or to register an Alzheimer's patient, call the
Alzheimer's Association at 800.272.3900.
of June 23, 2002