Over time, a person with dementia may have trouble problem-solving, communicating and recognizing their surroundings. As a result, they are at risk of becoming lost, even in familiar places.
Be prepared by signing up for MedicAlert® Safely Home®. This nationwide service was created through a partnership between MedicAlert® Foundation Canada and the Alzheimer Society of Canada to help identify a person with dementia who is lost and assist them to safely return home.
If a person goes missing
Caregivers should immediately call 911 or local police and inform them that the person with dementia has gone missing.
Then, provide police with the person’s MedicAlert® subscriber ID number.
The police can call the MedicAlert® 24/7 Emergency Hotline to obtain a recent photo, physical description, possible whereabouts and other vital information about the person.
If a person is found
Emergency responders call the MedicAlert® 24/7 Emergency Hotline and within seconds will have access to the subscriber’s address as well as emergency contacts like family and friends.
One year of MedicAlert® protection is $60 and includes a wide range of unmatched benefits:
- A MedicAlert® Safely Home® ID uniquely colored in blue
- A 24/7 Emergency Hotline with calls answered within an average of five seconds, staffed with trained specialists – ready to speak for the person with dementia
- Family/emergency contact notification immediately after the hotline is called to help reunite families
- Follow-up with the caregiver for cases when the Emergency Hotline is used to ensure the needs of the person with dementia and the caregiver are taken care of
- A comprehensive electronic medical profile with unlimited updates
- A wallet card with health information and emergency contacts
- Access to an online electronic medical profile anytime, anywhere
If you're a veteran
Veterans receiving health benefits through Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) may be eligible for the VAC assistance program to cover the cost of signing up with MedicAlert® Safely Home®. Please indicate your VAC health ID number on the application form.
Call 1-855-581-3794 to speak with a MedicAlert® Customer Service Representative.
TIP: Before calling, review the information required to complete a registration by reading the Subscriber Application Form.
Download and print the Subscriber Application Form.
Mail the completed form to:MedicAlert Foundation Canada
Morneau Shepell Centre II
895 Don Mills Road, Suite 600
For more information, visit the MedicAlert® Safely Home®website
Sometimes, a person with dementia may be reluctant to wear a medical ID. Here are some suggestions to help encourage the person to wear an ID.
- If possible, involve the person with dementia in the sign up process. Signing up for MedicAlert® Safely Home® provides peace of mind, similar to insurance; you never know when you may need help. Having the bracelet will empower emergency responders to make informed decisions in emergency situations.
- Present the bracelet as a gift from a grandchild or another family member who is close to the person with dementia.
- Ask your family doctor or other health-care professional to speak to the person with dementia about how the bracelet can help them in an emergency.
- If another family member or friend wears a MedicAlert bracelet, have them present the MedicAlert® Safely Home® bracelet to the person with dementia so they can see they’re not alone.
- Talk with your local Alzheimer Society support staff about other strategies.
Contrary to what you might think, the person most likely to assist a person with dementia, is not a police officer or an emergency responder, but a Good Samaritan.
If you see someone in your community who is alone and appears confused or is dressed inappropriately for the weather, follow these steps:
- Approach them from the front and ask if you can help.
- Smile! Speak slowly, clearly and use simple words. Tell them your name and why you’ve approached them. For example, “You seem like you are looking for something. Can I help you find it?”
- Give them time to respond. Use gestures or repeat your question if necessary.
- Ask if you can check their wrist. If you see a MedicAlert® Safely Home® bracelet, call the MedicAlert® 24/7 Emergency Hotline number engraved on the back immediately.
- Provide the ID to the hotline specialists and stay with the person until a responder arrives.
- If you’re unsure about approaching the person, call police to assist.
Ensure that the person with dementia wears their MedicAlert® bracelet at all times.
Keep a current photo of the person on hand. Change it every six months to reflect their current appearance.
Keep your MedicAlert® Safely Home® contact and personal information up to date by calling 1-855-581-3794.
More helpful resources:
Finding Your Way
The Finding Your Way® website has practical information, including tips on how to assist a person with dementia to live as safely as possible in their community. Resources are available in 12 languages: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, Cantonese, Mandarin, Punjabi, Tagalog, Arabic, Urdu and Tamil.
To learn more, visit www.findingyourwayontario.ca. Note: some resources on this site are specific to Ontario only.
Last Updated: 06/13/2018