ARTICLES / General / Ten Tips
to Protect a Wandering Loved One /
By John Paul Marosy
PROVIDE INFORMATION TO HELP WITH SEARCH AND RESCUE:
Local Responders First – Fill out a 911 disability
indicator form and submit it to your local law
enforcement agency. The information on the form alerts
law enforcement that a person residing at that address
may require special assistance during an emergency.
Also, fill out a more detailed handout with this
information that you can provide to first responders and
search and rescue personnel in the event of a wandering
Your Neighbors – Give your neighbors a similar handout
with a picture of the person you are caring for,
physical characteristics and emergency contact
information. You may want to describe the person's
fears, habits and explain how to best communicate with
and calm them. Ask them to contact you immediately if
they see this person wandering outside their home.
Personal Items – List emergency contact information on
tags in shoes and on clothing in case your loved one
SAFEGUARD THE LIVING SPACE – INSIDE AND OUT
Triggers that Might Encourage Departure – Remove items
such as hats, coats, boots, scarves, keys and suitcases
that may prompt your loved one to go outside.
- Hang a
"Do Not Enter" Sign on the Door – This sign may help
redirect and discourage the wanderer from opening the
- Install a Fence Around Your Property – Set latches on
the outside of gates and ensure they are in an area
where the person you are caring for can't reach them.
Simple Monitors, Remote Alerts and Locks – Attach
monitors to the door that detects when it opens; use a
caregiver chime alert unit, which sounds when the door
is open; combine these with locks on all doors including
front, garage and basement.
REGISTER AND/OR ENROLL IN PROGRAMS THAT PROMOTE A SAFE
- Register Your Loved One's Information – With information
registered in a secure database, such as the National
Silver Alert Program, emergency responders are provided
with critical information necessary in the event of a
wandering incident or a medical emergency.
- Consider an Identification Bracelet – An ID bracelet,
like the one offered through the Alzheimer's
Association's MedicAlert + Safe Return program, helps
the police or a Good Samaritan get a missing person back
home safely or medical attention.
- Consider a Program that Offers a Personal Tracking
Device – Programs that feature personal tracking
devices, such as LoJack SafetyNet, are a good way to
help protect and locate someone in the event they do
wander and give peace of mind to a caregiver. A Radio
Frequency device is ideal for people at risk of
wandering because, unlike GPS devices, it has strong
signals that can penetrate water, dense foliage,
concrete buildings and steel structures.