Alzheimer's safety campaign a step in the right direction
TORONTO, March 20, 2013 /CNW/ - The new Ontario Government, in
partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Ontario, is launching a
groundbreaking multicultural safety awareness program for people with
dementia who may go missing. Finding Your Way, a new wandering prevention program funded by the Ontario Government,
will help prevent people with dementia from "wandering" and going
missing, and also help caregivers and other family members prepare for
such incidents, if they occur.
Nearly 200,000 Ontarians have dementia, an increase of 16 percent over
the past four years. By 2020, nearly 250,000 seniors in this province
will be living with some form of dementia.1 Statistics show that three out of five people with dementia go missing
at some point, often without warning. There is greater risk of injury,
even death, for those missing for more than 24 hours. Having a plan in
place and knowing how to protect the individual is a must for
The Finding Your Way safety kit contains information to help families create personalized
safety plans. The kit includes:
An identification kit with space for a recent photo and physical
description that can be shared with police in an emergency
At-home safety steps to help prevent missing incidents from occurring
Steps to safeguard a person with dementia, such as using the Alzheimer
Society of Canada's MedicAlert® Safely Home® program
Tips on what to do when a person with dementia goes missing and when
reuniting after a wandering incident
The latest information on locating devices
Ontario is also providing funding for the Ontario Police College to
develop and deliver police training that incorporates wandering
prevention into the current police curriculum.
"We see the number of people with dementia and the risks associated with
missing incidents rising," says Gale Carey, CEO of the Alzheimer
Society of Ontario. "We commend the Ontario government for recognizing
the need for Finding Your Way. And because we know dementia doesn't discriminate, we're launching
this public service campaign not only in English and in French, but
also in Mandarin, Cantonese and Punjabi. Our multilingual public
service announcements on television, radio, in print and on-line offer
valuable tips to keep people with dementia safe."
"Finding Your Way is part of Ontario's Action Plan for Seniors, we are
working to enable Ontario seniors to be healthier, providing them with
friendly, supportive communities, and keeping them protected and safe,
while recognizing that supporting seniors means supporting their
families and caregivers," Mario Sergio, Minister Responsible for
"Our goal is to ensure the safety of all the people of Ontario. By
providing the training that helps police officers respond to cases of
seniors who have wandered, we are working to protect our vulnerable
seniors and keep them safe," Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Community
Safety and Correctional Services.
"When people with dementia go missing, the police view it as an
emergency. Time is a factor, and the identification information
contained within the Finding Your Way kits is exactly the kind of
information that police need to speed up the search process. The
Finding Your Way kits are a great tool families can have on hand to
assist police when searching with a loved one with dementia," Brent
Thomlison, Deputy Chief, Operations, Waterloo Regional Police Services,
representing the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP).
Keith Harvey of Mississauga knows the value of a program like Finding Your Way. "Four years ago my wife Mary, who had dementia, left our cottage in
Gravenhurst in the middle of the night. I had been waking myself up
every 30 minutes to check on her, but she slipped out anyway. I
eventually found her walking along the dark road in her pyjamas. The Finding Your Way safety kit would have helped me understand how to safely plan and
prevent her from wandering. I would advise any caregiver to connect
with their local Alzheimer Society to obtain a safety kit."
To learn more about Finding Your Way, visit www.findingyourwayontario.ca or contact you local Alzheimer Society at www.alzheimerontario.ca.
1. R. Hopkins, Geriatric Psychiatry Programme, Clinical/Research
Bulletin, Number 16, 2010
About Ontario Seniors' Secretariat
The Ontario Senior's Secretariat works to improve the quality of life
for Ontario's seniors by:
Developing polices and programs that meet the needs of seniors and help
them lead Active, healthy and dignified lives.
Advising on the development of policies and programs across government
on behalf of seniors.
Providing seniors with the information they need about vital programs
and services, health lifestyles and aging.
Promoting the important contributions seniors make to families,
communities and the province of Ontario.
Maintaining close working relationships with seniors' organizations
across the province.
For more information about Secretariat of Seniors Ontario visit www.ontario.ca/seniors
About the Alzheimer Society of Ontario
The Alzheimer Society of Ontario is the province's leading health charity
committed to helping people with Alzheimer's disease and other
dementias. With a network of 38 Societies across Ontario, we offer Help for Today through our programs and services for people living with dementia and Hope for Tomorrow…® by funding research to find the cause and the cure.
More press material and b-rolls are available at ftp.focuscomms.com
SOURCE: Alzheimer Society of Ontario
For further information:
Focus Communications Inc. 905-305-0308
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Kristi Stewart 647-988-9186