Medical IDs for Alzheimer’s and Dementia

What is Alzheimer’s Disease? 

Alzheimer’s is a progressive and incurable neurological disease that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. According to our long time collaborator – The Alzheimer’s Association, there are currently more than six million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, and the number is rapidly growing. 

The cause of Alzheimer’s is not fully understood, but scientists believe that it develops from a combination of genetics, lifestyle, and environment. Increasing age is the largest Alzheimer’s risk factor. Most individuals living with the disease are over age 60, although there is a growing number of people who experience early onset Alzheimer’s. 

A staggering statistic is that 6 out of 10 people with dementia will wander from safety. When someone with dementia wanders, they’re often unable to tell others where they live or how to contact their caregiver. That’s why MedicAlert partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association to provide services that help improve outcomes in a wandering incident.

How does MedicAlert work for people with Alzheimer’s? 

A MedicAlert ID and membership are important safety precautions for those living with Alzheimer’s. An Alzheimer’s ID bracelet can be your loved one’s voice in a wandering incident or medical emergency. A MedicAlert ID alerts first responders (or good Samaritans) that your loved one has Alzheimer’s, and conveys their important health information.

MedicAlert offers 24/7 Wandering Support® – a  safe return program that works with local authorities to quickly reunite those who wander with their family or caregiver. When a MedicAlert member is reported missing, MedicAlert distributes a bulletin to local hospitals and law enforcement, and coordinates with family to facilitate their loved one’s return home. Wandering Support is available with an Advantage or Advantage Plus memberhsip.

Benefits of a  MedicAlert ID  and  membership for families living with Alzheimer’s: 

  • We’re your voice:  If your loved one can’t speak for themselves, their MedicAlert ID informs others of their condition and triggers a call to our Emergency Response team. 
  • 24/7 emergency protection:  Our team will relay critical medical information to first responders in an emergency or wandering incident. 
  • 24/7 Wandering Support:  If someone wanders or is found because they’ve wandered, MedicAlert will work with local authorities to reunite you as soon as possible. 
  • Stay connected:  In an emergency or wandering incident, MedicAlert will immediately reach out to emergency contacts so you’re in the know. 
  • Peace of mind:  With a MedicAlert ID and membership, you know that if your loved one wanders or has a medical emergency, MedicAlert has their back – and yours. 

“MedicAlert can be a real lifeline for someone who has wandered.”

– Monica Moreno, Senior Director of Care and Support, Alzheimer’s Association

What types of Alzheimer’s medical IDs does MedicAlert have? 

MedicAlert offers a wide range of Alzheimer’s medical IDs to suit each person’s lifestyle, personality, and needs. Our custom-engraved medical ID bracelets, dog tags, and necklaces come in a variety of unique styles, metals, and finishes, and all of them are designed to protect your loved one in the event of emergency.  For those with dementia, we recommend a bracelet with a sister clasp – it’s very secure and not easy for the wearer to take off by themselves. That way if they do wander, they’re more likely to be wearing their ID – and more likely to be found and returned safely.

How does Alzheimer’s disease progress? 

Alzheimer’s progression is classified into three stages: early, moderate, and severe. People with Alzheimer’s typically experience early symptoms in their mid-60’s, but early-onset cases can begin as early as the 30’s. Early Alzheimer’s symptoms can include: 

  • Memory loss 
  • Losing or misplacing things 
  • Difficulty thinking or understanding 
  • Wandering or getting lost 
  • Mood and personality changes 
  • Repeating questions 

As Alzheimer’s progresses, these symptoms worsen and increasingly interfere with daily life, ultimately making it difficult or impossible for people with the disease to carry on conversation and respond to their environment.  

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, but it is at the forefront of medical research. There are some treatments and therapies that can help slow disease progression and improve quality of life for people living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. 

The importance of an Alzheimer’s medical ID bracelet

Wearing a medical ID at all times ensures your medical conditions are immediately known in an emergency.

When first responders see a MedicAlert ID, they know to contact MedicAlert to get your complete health record.

Get protected 24/7 with a medical ID and membership.

What’s the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease? 

Alzheimer’s is a specific disease, whereas dementia is a general term for conditions that have a group of symptoms including memory loss, cognitive decline, and impaired communication. There are several diseases that considered forms of dementia; Alzheimer’s is the most common, and accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases. Neither Alzheimer’s nor dementia are part of the normal aging process. 

Taking care of loved ones with Alzheimer’s 

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is a labor of love. It can also be a source of stress when you don’t know what to expect from day to day. One worry that is ever-present for many Alzheimer’s caregivers is the fear that their loved one will wander.  

Although no two individuals with Alzheimer’s face the same challenges, 6 in 10 people with dementia will wander, according to The Alzheimer’s Association. People with Alzheimer’s may wander for many reasons, such as stress, agitation, the desire to look for something, or simply to take a walk or find a bathroom. 

While wandering can be safe in a controlled setting, it puts those with Alzheimer’s at risk of becoming lost, confused, or even physically injured by harsh weather, dangerous terrain, or other safety risks. When they do reach a safe location, those who wander may be unable to communicate their name or address.  

To lessen the risk of unsafe wandering, caregivers can take preventive measures such as putting in deadbolt locks that are out of the line of sight, installing warning bells, and removing access to car keys. It’s also important to identify the time of day when your loved one is most likely to wander; for many with Alzheimer’s, it’s around dusk or during the “sundowning” period. Most importantly – make sure they’re wearing a MedicAlert ID and have an active membership so that Wandering Support services can be activated if necessary.  

With Wandering Support, MedicAlert coordinates with local authorities and distributes missing person information to help speed a safe return home for those who have wandered. Every year, MedicAlert fields thousands of wandering calls and works with families and law enforcement to ensure a positive outcome from a wandering incident. 

post

Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s

November 12, 2021
Categories:

When you’re a caregiver for a loved one with a chronic illness such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s hard to know what any given day will be like. Some days are better than others. Life is grand when your loved one is feeling strong and healthy, ready to take on the world. But the challenging […]

Read more

Further support and resources for Alzheimer’s caregivers 

Navigating the challenge of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be overwhelming. At times, caregivers may feel as though they need support, but aren’t sure where to start. The Alzheimer’s Association, our dedicated partner, understands these concerns and offers support and a variety of resources to guide the caregivers of individuals living with Alzheimer’s. MedicAlert is proud to collaborate with Alzheimer’s Association to help protect those living with dementia, and provide peace of mind for their families. 

Support resources 

The Alzheimer’s Association’s  24/7 Helpline is available for round-the-clock clinical, emotional, and financial support from master-level clinicians. The helpline offers complete confidentiality, bilingual staff members, and translation services in more than 200 languages. 

The Alzheimer’s Association also has a Caregiver Center that offers resources about Alzheimer’s caregiving, such as:  

  • AlzConnected® – an online social networking community for anyone impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. AlzConnected® provides a safe place for people to connect with others facing the disease and develop mutual support systems 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 
  • Alzheimer’s Navigator® – this tool helps caregivers create a personalized action plan addressing concerns such as safety, working with health care providers, financial planning, and effectively handling dementia symptoms and behaviors. 
  • Community Resource Finder – a comprehensive database that makes it easy to search, find, and access local Alzheimer’s resources, programs and services. 

If you are looking for in-person support for yourself and your loved one, The Alzheimer’s Association also offers  support groups. These regularly scheduled gatherings are led by peers or individuals with professional training, and coordinated through local chapters across the country. Groups are offered for caregivers, family and friends, and those in the early stage of Alzheimer’s.   

What should I engrave on an Alzheimer’s alert medical ID?

MedicAlert offers free custom engraving on all our medical ID products. The engraving should include any critical medical information that can protect and save your life if you are in an accident or have a medical emergency, including:

  • Alzheimer’s, Dementia, or Memory impaired
  • Other medical conditions
  • Medications
  • Allergies
  • Implanted devices
  • Any medical information that needs to be communicated to first responders.

MedicAlert and the Alzheimer’s Association are long-term collaborators in addressing the wandering crisis. 

Feel confident and enjoy peace of mind