By Hector Perez and Lili Liu | January tenth, 2023
Professor Lili Liu and postdoctoral fellow Hector Perez on the College of Waterloo Faculty of Public Well being Sciences focus on how one can forestall lacking individual incidents for seniors residing with dementia.
Folks residing with dementia are prone to getting misplaced, and go lacking day-after-day.
For instance, in Canada this previous July, an individual residing with dementia went lacking and was discovered by the police beneath a freeway bridge greater than 24 hours after he was final seen. However for some folks, the end result is likely to be totally different. They may by no means return house, or in some circumstances by no means be discovered.
It is a rising drawback. At this time, over 55 million folks dwell with dementia worldwide, and this quantity is projected to triple by 2050. Latest analysis reported that the prevalence of lacking individual calls involving a person with dementia has elevated by between 10 and 50 per cent throughout all Ontario areas during the last 5 years.
The chance of getting misplaced differs amongst folks residing with dementia primarily based on their particular person danger components. For instance, some people might have diminished processing of ache and thermoregulation, which suggests they don’t really feel the chilly or warmth. That will increase the chance of opposed outcomes when the individual goes lacking.
Prevention is prime and has the potential to save lots of lives and reduce the danger of accidents for individuals residing with dementia.
For instance, Alzheimer Scotland developed a lacking individual app known as Purple Alert to help the security and well-being of individuals residing with dementia. If somebody with dementia goes lacking within the space, the app sends an alert to neighborhood residents who’ve opted in.
In Canada, knowledge on lacking older adults residing with dementia are sparse, and knowledge on reported incidents sometimes comes from information and media experiences. Japan is the one nation we all know of that retains annual statistics concerning the variety of circumstances of lacking adults with dementia. In 2021, 17,636 folks residing with dementia went lacking in Japan.
It’s clear that as a rustic, Canada wants higher approaches to handle and stop lacking incidents involving folks residing with dementia. For instance, prevention methods might embody:
- Specialised coaching of first responders to establish and intervene once they see a lacking individual with dementia.
- Prevention measures at house and locally. This may occasionally embody offering protected widespread areas at house akin to a fenced patio, labelling doorways to supply a reminder of what every room is for, having a current photograph of the person, and turning into conversant in the neighbourhood, together with seemingly locations an individual may wander to and any hazards akin to ponds and busy roads.
- Know-how to help individuals residing with dementia and their caregivers. For instance, instruments to evaluate particular person danger for going lacking and getting misplaced.
Lastly, Canada wants a nationwide technique for amassing knowledge on incidents of lacking folks residing with dementia. This might optimize time and assets spent on police and search and rescue efforts, and improve the probabilities of saving the lives of those that go lacking.
The mixing of a number of knowledge sources akin to well being care, social packages, police and different first responders, and volunteer search and rescue organizations is essential to maintain preventive efforts and proactively establish danger locally. At present, databases on lacking incidents involving folks residing with dementia are managed in silos.
Researchers on the College of Waterloo are main an initiative to boost search and rescue capabilities for folks residing with dementia. This mission consists of engagement with a number of companions throughout Canada, akin to police and neighborhood organizations, search and rescue, and other people residing with dementia. The mission consists of collaboration with First Nations communities and first responders, akin to firefighters, paramedics and peacekeepers, embedded in these communities.
The necessity for these assets is rising. By 2050, greater than 1.7 million Canadians are anticipated to be residing with dementia, with a median of 685 people being identified every day. With an growing variety of folks residing with dementia worldwide and in Canada, it’s essential to search out methods to advertise neighborhood consciousness and stop folks with dementia from getting misplaced.