About getting lost and dementia

Thank you for your interest in the Getting Home Safely with dementia project.

Below are some key points about why people with dementia are at greater risk of getting lost and some strategies to improve your safety.

Dementia and the risk of getting lost

  • Dementia is a term used to describe a collection of symptoms (e.g. changes in memory, behaviour and the ability to perform tasks): Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia.
  • For some people the symptoms of dementia can include sensory challenges.
  • Dementia is not a normal part of ageing.
  • If the areas of the brain that are needed to navigate are damaged, you are at greater risk of getting lost.
  • Not all people with dementia will experience getting lost. If you have been lost before you are more at risk of getting lost again.

Police response to a missing person report

  • In the unlikely event that you do get lost, the sooner someone reports this to the Police the better.
  • During the initial contact, Police will ask many questions including: your last known location, events leading up to you going missing, your medical history, and what you were wearing.
  • Police depend on the public to help with the search.

Strategies to maintain safety

  • It is important to continue doing activities that you enjoy, to remain active, and to maintain independence. You could consider these strategies to improve your safety:
    • Consider using technology, for example GPS tracking
    • Wear a Medic Alert or ID bracelet
    • Tell someone that you are going out and when you plan to be home
    • If you own a phone, carry it with you when you go out
    • Join in group activities for example walking groups.
    • Carry a card in your wallet with your name and a phone number to contact your next of kin.
    • If you enjoy routine activities outside your home, let your network know what they are.

Share your opinion

If you would be willing to participate in a
30-minute online interview about this topic
we would love to hear from you.

Please email or call 07 3138 3852
to express your interest.