The Alzheimer’s Caregiver Releases New Guidelines for Finding Missing Alzheimer’s Patients

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It seems every day there are news stories about missing Alzheimer’s patients who have wandered away from their homes or facilities. But The Alzheimer’s Caregiver recommends taking specific steps to increase the chances of a loved one returning safely.

Activity resident feeding the local deer

Tom Elin, the CEO of The Alzheimer’s Caregiver, says taking certain steps can help you to find a missing loved one or even prevent the person from getting lost.

With decades of experience in caring for Alzheimer’s patients, The Alzheimer’s Caregiver is responding to one of the most serious issues facing caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias: Having a missing Alzheimer’s patient. But Tom Elin, the CEO of The Alzheimer’s Caregiver, says taking certain steps can help you to find a missing loved one or even prevent the person from getting lost.

Elin advises caretakers to take preventive steps when a patient is first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He says they should tell neighbors to be on the lookout for the patient walking alone and at odd times. In addition, they should lock doors at night and consider installing an alarm system.

Despite precautions, people in the early and middle stages of dementia are still known to sometimes lose their sense of direction or wind up in unfamiliar surroundings. Elin explains, “With Spring here, there is a higher chance of a loved one wandering outside a bit more because of the milder temperatures.” He recommends the following steps for times when an Alzheimer’s patient is lost.

  •     Once you realize the person is missing, check the immediate surroundings. Also, check any hidden places in the home such as closets, the attic, the garage, and the basement. Don’t be afraid to ask neighbors for help.
  •     If the person is not found quickly, call the local police and notify the "Safe Return" program in the area.
  •     Have photographs and a description of the person ready to help the police or any other searchers. Give information about the clothes he or she was wearing, along with details about the person’s medical condition.
  •     Remain calm and let the authorities perform the larger search. They are familiar with the area and they have proven procedures in place.
  •     Stay by the telephone in case authorities call with information and be ready with warm clothing, food or medicine for the person’s return.

In addition to these steps, Elin recommends that caregivers consider signing the patient up for "Safe Return" program of the Alzheimer's Association. It assures that the person will be registered with local authorities as well as regional and national services.

About The Alzheimer Caregiver: The Alzheimer’s Caregiver provides academic, scientific, and clinical research about Alzheimer’s for institutional and at-home caregivers. It offers medical technology, training and materials which often allow users to keep patients at home longer than would be possible otherwise. To find out what The Alzheimer’s Caregiver can do for you or a loved one, visit

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