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What to do if someone with dementia is missing? ***

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Step 1

Take a quick look around the property.

Call 911 and advise the operator that you are reporting a missing person who has dementia

Calgary City Police (CPS) will assess vulnerability and based on assessment could begin searching immediately. CPS will want to meet with you to acquire accurate information.  As part of the missing person’s assessment, CPS will ask you a variety of questions. These questions will provide information for an effective search.

Have recent pictures and information on hand to give to police. Information about clothing they are wearing, features like tattoos or scars and specific behaviors will be helpful.

Step 2

Ensure someone stays at home, in case the person returns.

Engage with other supports, such as family and friends to either help with the search or to stay with the person who is waiting.

Waiting for someone to be found can be a stressful experience. The stress will continue for some even after the person is found.

It is important you take care of yourself.  Having the opportunity to talk with someone can be very helpful. Talk with a close friend, a counsellor you may know, or someone in your faith community.

 24 hour Resources:

  • Distress Centre at 403-266-4357 anytime day or night

  • 403-Seniors or 403-736-4677 anytime day or night

Step 3

Reuniting:

Reuniting with the person who was lost is an important step. The experience has likely been stressful, and they may be anxious. Some things that might help with this:

  • Provide them with warm, dry clothing – especially if the weather has been bad.

  • Provide reassurance – let them know you are happy to see them.

  • Address medical issues - a visit to the doctor may be necessary to ensure good health.

 

Further Support?

Sometimes after a loved one is found the family wonders if other resources need to be put in place to ensure safety. Here are some resources that may be helpful:

•          The Way In at 403-SENIORS, 403-736-4677 (24 hours)

This service will help older adults connect with services and supports in Calgary

•          The Alzheimer Society of Calgary at 403-290-0110

This service specializes in alzheimer and dementia.  They have strategies for caregivers and can help with creating plans to address challenges.

•          Your family physician

Your family physician may need to be aware of any changes in your loved one’s behavior.  They may suggest interventions or connect you to additional resources. 

*** This information is provided by the Calgary Community Coordinated Response to Missing Seniors is an Action Team with Age-Friendly Calgary. Because going missing is of particular concern for people living with dementia, representatives from the Dementia Network have been actively involved with the work of this team alongside multiple other organizations and individuals who are interested in both preventing and creating a better response to this issue.

Part of the work of this Action Team has been creating tools to both prevent people from going missing and to respond when seniors do go missing.