Markey, Smith Commend New Alzheimer's Safe Return Program
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressmen Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Chris Smith (R-N.J.), co-Chairmen of the Congressional Taskforce on Alzheimer’s, today commended the implementation of a program between the United States Justice Department, the Alzheimer’s Association and the MedicAlert Foundation that designates the MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® program as a national resource for law enforcement to aid individuals with Alzheimer’s who wander or become lost.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.1 million people have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the U.S. today, and the number is anticipated to increase to 8 million cases in the year 2030. People with Alzheimer’s disease and their loved ones can benefit from having a comprehensive safety plan, especially a plan that incorporates extra precautions to promote their loved ones are returned safely when a wandering incident occurs or if they become lost.
“This program serves as an excellent example of a public-private partnership that will help ensure the safety and protection of Alzheimer’s patients nationwide,” said Rep. Markey. "We vowed to care for our citizens as they age. We must support the millions of families and caregivers struggling everyday with this disease and this program can play an important role."
“Sixty percent of the millions of Alzheimer’s sufferers wander at some point in their illness, many are habitual wanderers," said Rep. Smith. "This new partnership will increase the likelihood that an individual suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease will be found and reunited safely with his or her loved ones.”
The MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® program, a US-based live 24/7 emergency response service that assists law enforcement in identifying wandering or missing individuals, currently maintains a 98 percent success rate for program enrollees who were reported missing. This new initiative with the Department of Justice is an additional enhancement to the successful MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® program.
Through the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) network law enforcement personnel will now be able to quickly and efficiently search the MedicAlert portal for information that will aid in identifying Alzheimer's patients who may have become lost or have wandered.