‘Safe Return’ program for Alzheimer patients
This program began over seven years ago to help police officers return Alzheimer’s patients to their homes. The registered patient wears a bracelet or necklace that, for the sake of safety and privacy, can only be decoded by law enforcement.
Four million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease; over 40,000 people in San Diego and San Diego County. The vast majority, almost 75%, are living at home; they are more at risk of wandering away and getting lost than those in nursing homes. Many people cannot even remember their name or address. They may become disoriented and lost in their own neighborhood or far from home. It is common for a person with Alzheimer’s disease to wander, sometimes repeatedly, during the disease process. This behavior can be dangerous, even life threatening, to individuals and stressful for caregivers.
"Safe Return" application forms are available in the Rancho Bernardo Police Storefront, 2nd floor of the library. The packet also has much helpful information for caregivers or family, including support groups, pamphlets and publications. The volunteers at the Storefront will assist your registering the patient by taking Polaroid pictures. Call 538-8146 to make sure someone at the Storefront is familiar with the cameras and information packets.
The application lists general information, characteristics (such as height, weight, complexion, languages spoken) and distinguishing features (such as facial hair, eyeglasses, wigs, hearing aids, etc.) as well as caregiver and contact information (whom to call when found.) If the $40 registration is a hardship, the SD Alzheimer’s association will help.
Since memory-impaired individuals often are unable to ask others for assistance, their behavior can put them in danger. They may be confused and wander. When this happens, an ID bracelet can be most important in helping the police locate them. The bracelet or necklace (as well as clothing labels and wallet cards) will have the registrant’s code number and the 800-number to call 24 hours a day. The Alzheimer’s Association has a national database to call on when an individual is lost or found. Call the RB Storefront at 538-8146 for more information or to make an appointment.
For more data, call the San Diego Alzheimer’s Association at 858-537-5040; Fax 858-537-5045; email: firstname.lastname@example.org/ Check their website at www.sanalz.org/ Or call the National office at 800-272-3900.
Courtesy RB NEWSJournal
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