The tragic death in July of a Schenectady resident with Alzheimer's disease underscores a symptom of this disease that family members may not think about - wandering. The fact is more than 60 percent of those with dementia will wander at some point. "Wandering" may not sound dangerous, but a person with Alzheimer's often cannot remember his or her name or address, and can become disoriented, even in familiar places. If not found quickly, the person who wandered is at grave risk of injury or death.
The Alzheimer's Association Northeastern New York Chapter has resources to assist in the monitoring and return of those who wander. MedicAlert + Alzheimer's Association Safe Return is a nationwide identification program designed to facilitate the safe return of those who wander through a 24-hour emergency response line. Comfort Zone allows families to monitor the location of a person with dementia remotely, while adjusting that person's geographic "comfort zone" area as the disease progresses.
As an Alzheimer's Association representative, I'm available at St. Mary's Healthcare in Amsterdam every Tuesday at the Community Outreach/Public Relations building. Each Thursday, I am in Fulton County at Nathan Littauer Primary Care Center in Johnstown. Please stop by for more information about safety services, or about anything pertaining to Alzheimer's disease. You can also call 1-800-272-3900.
Wandering is serious. I urge Fulton and Montgomery county residents to take steps to protect loved ones with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia.
Alzheimer's Association Northeastern New York Chapter