Cape Town – There has been a noted increase in Alzheimer’s patients walking away from their homes and going missing.
This is according to Western Cape Missing Persons Unit Founder Candice Van der Rheede.
She said this was of great concern and has sought to come up with a plan.
Her plan is to generate rubber wristbands for patients.
It will contain family contact numbers should they go missing.
However, they need help to make it possible.
They will need the support of the community as they do not receive any funding and donations for a laptop so people can be stored on a database.
“We would like to have a serial number and a contact number on the band.
“But before we do that we would like people to come to register their parents or loved ones who have Alzheimer’s or dementia.
“We prefer rubber bands because those metal ones sometimes irritate the skin.
“We are looking at specific colours that we can make the bands so if seen people can identify that the person is lost,” said Van der Rheede.
She added that if it is a patient seen after hours they need to be taken to the nearest police station.
“Our elderly are our blessings.”
Pastor Charles George Delft Community Policing Forum chairperson said anything will help when it comes to missing persons.
”What they are proposing we will back them up.
“We also need to look at technology and how we can put sensors in where you track the person.
“We need some more modern ways.”
Bettie Nieuwoudt from Stellcare Family Service, who has been working with the unit for years, stressed the importance of the Unit having a laptop available to help with searches.
“You will not know if you do not test the effectiveness of the wristbands.
“Maybe we must put a chip in as well.
“At least it is something rather than nothing because they really can’t account for themselves,” she said.
The chairperson of Inspire Network Charmen Gribi said she has seen an increase in people with Alzheimer’s walking away.
“Even if you go to the restaurants they put armbands on the kids in case they get lost.”