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Alzheimer's Association® applauds House passage of missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program

Alzheimer's Association® applauds House passage of missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program
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September 11, 2012
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Alzheimer's Association® applauds House passage of missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program

As the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research, the Alzheimer's Association® applauds passage of H.R. 2800, The Missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program Reauthorization Act introduced by Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) The measure, passed today in the House of Representatives, expands important programs that improve the safety of people living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's, a progressive, degenerative and fatal disease. As the threat of Alzheimer's continues to touch more people's lives, the safety of these individuals will continue to be a tremendous concern. Many living with Alzheimer's experience significant disorientation of time and space and six out of 10 individuals with dementia will get lost and wander from their homes or care facilities, many doing so repeatedly. This legislation aims to help individuals with Alzheimer's and dementia who wander away from home by reauthorizing a Department of Justice Program that allows local law enforcement officials to quickly identify wandering dementia patients and reunite them with their families.

"Passage of this legislation during World Alzheimer's Month helps to underscore how important it is that mechanisms are in place to address the safety and wandering issues that affect so many individuals in the Alzheimer's population," said Robert Egge, Alzheimer's Association Vice President of Public Policy. "The Alzheimer's Association remains committed to working with lawmakers, law enforcement and first responders to ensure they are equipped to manage the unique safety challenges facing the Alzheimer's community." The Alzheimer's Association Wandering and Safety Response Initiative has a long history of working with the federal government to addressing safety issues for Alzheimer's families and exploring innovative ways to educate law enforcement and emergency personnel. This multicomponent initiative includes MedicAlert® + Alzheimer's Association's Safe Return®, a nationwide emergency response program that assists in the safe and timely return of individuals with Alzheimer's or other dementias that wander and become lost. The program maintains a 98 percent success rate for program enrollees who were reported missing.

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