If you are the Michigan caregiver of a senior loved one who lives with Alzheimer’s disease, wandering is probably one of the behaviors you worry about most. Despite caregivers’ best efforts, experts from the Alzheimer’s Association report that six in ten people who have the disease will wander. Once a person begins wandering they are more likely to continue. If a loved one with dementia goes missing, every minute counts in helping them make a safe return home. Being prepared for just such an emergency can make the difference difference. One way to do that is by assembling an Alzheimer’s Wandering Kit.

Create an Alzheimer’s Wandering Kit

In the event a your loved one wanders, quickly providing emergency responders and the alert the media with the information and photos they need can make all of the difference in how safely and quickly they are located. Here is a list of what your Alzheimer’s Wandering Kit should include:

  1. A written description of your aging loved one. Height, weight, eye color, hair color, and any identifying marks or features like a tattoo or scar. Include at least three emergency contact people with the description and make sure you list work, home and cell phone numbers.
  2. A recent photo of your loved one. It is important that the picture be a good quality head shot that can be cleanly photocopied for flyers. Keep the photo updated if your loved one’s appearance changes. A few seconds of video where your loved one’s face can easily be seen will also help.
  3. Make sure your kit has a copy of your loved one’s complete medical file. You need their medical history, known health problems, allergies and medications they take. You should also include their physician’s name and contact information
  4. Create a list of places and addresses familiar to your family member. It might give authorities some kind of a starting point to begin their search. Places to include might be past homes, past employers, loved ones homes, and their church or synagogue.
  5. If your aging family member still drives, be sure you have a description of their car that includes the make, model and year as well as their license plate number. It will help police alert the authorities in surrounding communities to be on the lookout for their vehicle.

One final piece of advice is to have multiple copies of your Alzheimer’s Wandering Kit stored in an easily accessible location. A digital version that you can email to media and law enforcement is best.

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