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Alzheimer's Association commends committee passage of Missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program

Alzheimer's Association commends committee passage of Missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program
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July 31, 2012
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Alzheimer's Association commends committee 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® lauds passage of H.R. 2800, The Missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program Reauthorization Act, introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). The measure, passed today by the House Judiciary Committee, expands important programs that partner with local law enforcement to 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 profound disorientation in 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 helps individuals with Alzheimer's who wander away from home by reauthorizing a Department of Justice program that helps local law enforcement officials quickly identify wandering dementia patients and reunite them with their families.

"The program is critical in addressing the safety and wandering issues that affect a great number of individuals in the Alzheimer's community," said Robert Egge, Alzheimer's Association vice president of public policy. "The Alzheimer's Association is committed to working with lawmakers, law enforcement and first responders to ensure they are equipped to manage the unique safety challenges of individuals with Alzheimer's. The Association commends this effort to provide much needed solutions to assist a growing Alzheimer's population and applauds the House Judiciary Committee's passage."

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. This multicomponent initiative includes MedicAlert® + Alzheimer's Association 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. Another aim of the initiative is to continually seek innovative ways to educate law enforcement and emergency personnel about wandering and safety awareness.

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