MedicAlert Foundation and Justice Department Collaboration to Aid Law Enforcement During Alzheimer’s-Related Wandering Incidents

(TURLOCK, CA, September 26, 2012) – Sixty percent of people with Alzheimer’s disease will, on one or more occasions, wander and become lost or disoriented. Although estimates vary, according to the National Institutes of Health – National Institute on Aging, experts suggest that as many as 5.1 million Americans currently have Alzheimer’s disease. Unless the disease can be effectively treated or prevented, the number of people diagnosed with the disease will increase significantly if current population trends continue. The risk of Alzheimer’s increases with age and the U.S. population is aging. The number of people with Alzheimer’s could potentially double for every 5-year interval beyond age 65. By the year 2030, as many as 8 million Americans could be living with Alzheimer’s. People with Alzheimer’s disease, and their loved ones, benefit from having a comprehensive safety plan to help their loved ones when a wandering incident occurs or if they become lost.

A new web portal will be unveiled on September 30, 2012, during World Alzheimer’s Month, at the IACP Annual Conference and Law Enforcement Education and Technology Exposition at the San Diego Convention Center. The portal, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), will provide law enforcement with enhanced capabilities to identify and aid wandering (and missing) people with Alzheimer’s disease. The portal will function via direct connection from either the Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) or the FBI’s Law Enforcement Online - Enterprise Portal (LEO-EP) to the MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® program. This free service will allow authorized law enforcement officials to access vital information, including emergency contacts of the registered persons.

Law enforcement is encouraged to advise caregivers to enroll their loved ones in the MedicAlert® + Safe Return® program, a specialized live 24/7 emergency response service for individuals with Alzheimer’s or related dementia who wander or have a medical emergency. “Given the growing number of persons with Alzheimer’s disease, we are hopeful that this direct connection between law enforcement information systems and the MedicAlert® + Safe Return® registry will help law enforcement, more quickly, locate persons with Alzheimer’s, who become lost or disoriented and reunite them with their families," said Denise E. O’Donnell, Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

About MedicAlert Foundation

Established in 1956, the nonprofit MedicAlert Foundation pioneered the use of medical IDs and delivers the most dependable, responsive, intelligent and trusted Emergency Identification and Medical Information Network. MedicAlert provides the functionality of an e-health information exchange through an innovative combination of a unique patient identifier linked to a personal health record and a live 24/7 emergency response service. MedicAlert Foundation International medical IDs alert emergency personnel to a member’s primary health conditions, medications or implanted medical devices. In addition to its 24-hour emergency response service, MedicAlert Foundation International also provides family and caregiver notification so that members can be reunited with their loved ones.

For more information about MedicAlert Foundation, please visit: www.medicalert.org.

To learn more about the MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® program, please visit: www.medicalert.org/safereturn.

About the Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Visit www.alz.org or call 800-272-3900.

About the Office of Justice Programs

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six bureaus and offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART). Visit the OJP web site at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012