Alzheimer’s disease is disorienting and often causes wandering. Seniors with dementia also often have difficulty remembering their name, which, when combined with wandering, can result in a dangerous situation.
Assisted living communities and police enforcement are working together in Wisconsin to enact a Silver Alert that will resolve this situation and inform the public about a missing senior wandering with Alzheimer’s.
Reducing Alzheimer’s Wandering
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that anyone suffering from memory problems is at risk for wandering — even those in the early stages of the disease. According to the association, people with Alzheimer’s or dementia become more disoriented as the disease progresses, and the confusion lasts for longer periods of time, which can lead to serious harm or even death.
So, keeping loved ones with Alzheimer’s safe by reducing wandering is a priority for all — caregivers, assisted living communities and police enforcement alike.
According to an article in the Chippewa Herald, a community of stakeholders in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, is coming together to do just that, by participating in a Silver Alert Program created to find those missing with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other cognitive disabilities.
Police Launch Silver Alert Program to Address Wandering in Assisted Living
Deb Brettingen, Sensitive Crimes Investigator for the Chippewa Falls Police Department, understands how important the Silver Alert program is, and has been instrumental in working with assisted living communities in the area to help reduce wandering.
The article states that Brettingen’s own grandfather suffered from Alzheimer’s, and wandered away from their home when he was in his 90s.
Brettingen reportedly followed him as he wandered through the woods near their house and then several miles down the road. Her grandfather did not recognize her at the time and “even threatened to hurt her for following him,” the article says.
To make matters worse, Brettingen was on her own. “There were no cell phones,” she said. “It was just me following him on the highway.” Fortunately, the article notes that her grandfather did recognize a neighbor who drove by, picked him up and then took him to hospital, but it could have been worse.
The Silver Alert Program’s aim, much like an Amber Alert, is to “prompt email, text and media notifications about the missing person,” where “the wide dissemination of information can lead to a quick recovery of the missing person.”
The program relies on local assisted living facilities “to create a database of essential information about at-risk individuals,” that can help the police locate the individual in a short amount of time, reducing the chance for harm.
Assisted Living in Chippewa Falls
According to the article, assisted living communities in Chippewa Falls collect information like, “current photos, descriptions, make and model of any vehicle the person has access to as well as previous residences and work places makes locating the missing person easier.”
AssistedLiving.com has more than 200 Senior Living Advisors who have knowledge of communities in their area, and can send you a list of communities in Chippewa Falls that meet your family’s needs.
Contact us and be sure to let your Advisor know that you’re looking for a community that participates in the Silver Alert program.