People residing with dementia are prone to getting misplaced, and go lacking every single day in Canada. For instance, in July, an individual residing with dementia went lacking and was discovered by the police beneath a freeway bridge greater than 24 hours after he was final seen.
But for some individuals, the result is likely to be completely different. They would possibly by no means return residence, or in some circumstances by no means be discovered.
This is a rising downside. Today, over 55 million individuals dwell with dementia worldwide, and this quantity is projected to triple by 2050. Recent analysis reported that the prevalence of lacking particular person calls involving a person with dementia has elevated by between 10 and 50 per cent throughout all Ontario areas during the last 5 years.
The threat of getting misplaced differs amongst individuals residing with dementia primarily based on their particular person threat elements. For instance, some people could have decreased processing of ache and thermoregulation, which suggests they don’t really feel the chilly or warmth. That will increase the chance of hostile outcomes when the particular person goes lacking.
Prevention is prime and has the potential to save lots of lives and reduce the danger of accidents for individuals residing with dementia. For instance, Alzheimer Scotland developed a lacking particular person app referred to as Purple Alert to help the security and well-being of individuals residing with dementia. If somebody with dementia goes lacking within the space, the app sends an alert to neighborhood residents who’ve opted in.
In Canada, knowledge on lacking older adults residing with dementia are sparse, and data on reported incidents sometimes comes from information and media stories. Japan is the one nation we all know of that retains annual statistics concerning the variety of circumstances of lacking adults with dementia. In 2021, 17,636 individuals residing with dementia went lacking in Japan.
It is evident that as a rustic, Canada wants higher approaches to handle and forestall lacking incidents involving individuals residing with dementia. For instance, prevention methods might embrace:
Specialized coaching of first responders to determine and intervene once they see a lacking particular person with dementia.
Prevention measures at residence and in the neighborhood. This could embrace offering secure widespread areas at residence comparable to a fenced patio, labelling doorways to offer a reminder of what every room is for, having a current picture of the person, and changing into acquainted with the neighbourhood, together with possible locations an individual would possibly wander to and any hazards comparable to ponds and busy roads.
Technology to help individuals residing with dementia and their caregivers. For instance, instruments to evaluate particular person threat for going lacking and getting misplaced.
Finally, Canada wants a nationwide technique for gathering knowledge on incidents of lacking individuals residing with dementia. This might optimize time and assets spent on police and search and rescue efforts, and improve the probabilities of saving the lives of those that go lacking.
The integration of a number of knowledge sources comparable to well being care, social packages, police and different first responders, and volunteer search and rescue organizations is essential to maintain preventive efforts and proactively determine threat in the neighborhood. Currently, databases on lacking incidents involving individuals residing with dementia are managed in silos.
Researchers on the University of Waterloo are main an initiative to reinforce search and rescue capabilities for individuals residing with dementia. This challenge consists of engagement with a number of companions throughout Canada, comparable to police and neighborhood organizations, search and rescue, and other people residing with dementia. The challenge consists of collaboration with First Nations communities and first responders, comparable to firefighters, paramedics and peacekeepers, embedded in these communities.
The want for these assets is rising. By 2050, greater than 1.7 million Canadians are anticipated to be residing with dementia, with a mean of 685 people being recognized every day. With an growing variety of individuals residing with dementia worldwide and in Canada, it’s essential to search out methods to advertise neighborhood consciousness and forestall individuals with dementia from getting misplaced.
Hector Perez has acquired funding from AGE-WELL NCE and presently receives funding from the Games Institute on the University of Waterloo.
Lili Liu receives funding from Public Safety Canada, AGE-WELL NCE, and University of Waterloo Games Institute.
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