Elderhood Project: New tool helps families with seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia

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Wandering is common among those with Alzheimer’s or dementia and it can happen at any stage of the disease.

Alzheimer’s disease affects the entire family and nearly 50 percent of all families have experienced the moment of panic when a loved one has wandered. Also, three out of five people with the debilitating disease will, in fact, aimlessly move away. And it’s not just on foot — some seniors even jump in their cars.

But there’s a new tool that can help families stay proactive and have a peace of mind. It’s called the Missing Senior Network.

Paul Dziuban, Home Instead Senior Care president, said the service “allows families to put together a network, so if that senior ever becomes a wanderer … they can have a network to basically locate that senior before something bad happens.” Your network is immediately alerted by text or email, saving precious time, and registering online only takes a few minutes.

A person with dementia may be at risk for wandering if he or she:

  • Comes back from a regular walk or drive later than usual
  • Tries to fulfill old obligations like going to work
  • Wants to “go home” even when at home
  • And is nervous or anxious in crowded areas like shopping malls or restaurants.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, if a missing senior is not found within 24 hours, up to half of them are at the risk for injury or even death.

“It’s really easy to set up real quick, and you can keep adding people, friends, and neighbors to that network,” Dzuiban said. “And there’s no cost — it’s all free, it’s all an emergency network, and it’s just one more tool to help save people.”

A new tool that can give you peace of mind. To find out more about the Missing Senior Network, click here.

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