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.
Be prepared with MedicAlert® Safely 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.
Don’t delay. If you know a person with dementia has gone missing, contact police immediately.
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.
Signing up for MedicAlert® Safely Home®
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.
Three quick and easy ways to sign up
- Phone (toll-free)
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.
- 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
Be prepared with these tips
- How can I encourage a person to wear an ID?
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.
- How can I help people with dementia in my community?
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.
For more strategies, check out 10 Communication Tips. This pocket sheet for first responders has helpful tips that anyone can use when talking a person with dementia.
- Generally, always keep track of the following:
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.