Alzheimer’s Disease and Wandering


Six out of ten people with Alzheimer’s disease will wander. You can’t know when it will happen. It’s common for a person with dementia to wander and become lost. This can happen even in the earliest stages of the disease. Wandering can be dangerous, even life threatening, and the stress of this risk can weigh heavily on caregivers and family.

The Alzheimer’s Association and MedicAlert Foundation International have formed an alliance to improve the safety of individuals with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® is a 24-hour nationwide emergency response service for individuals with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia who wander or have a medical emergency.

If an individual with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia wanders and becomes lost, caregivers can call the 24-hour emergency response line to report it. A community support network will be activated, including local Alzheimer’s Association chapters and law enforcement agencies, to help reunite the family member or caregiver with the person who wandered. With this enhanced service, critical medical information will be provided to emergency responders when needed.

MedicAlert + Safe Return features one identification product (bracelet or necklace) that serves two purposes. It provides emergency medical information and assists in the event of a wandering incident. The member’s personal health record lists medical conditions, medications and allergies and can be updated 24 hours a day through a private online account or by calling the toll-free number during business hours. A national database includes a member’s photo and emergency contact information to help reunite the lost person with his or her caregivers.
For information about the MedicAlert + Safe Return program and assistance with the cost of enrollment, Alzheimer’s Association programs and services, caregiver workshops, or events please contact the Association at 1-800-272-3900. The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.


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