LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The amount of Silver Alerts is increasing across the nation.
More and more people with Alzheimer’s and dementia are wandering and finding themselves in unsafe conditions and in some cases, dying as a result.
In fact, six out of ten people with Alzheimer’s or dementia will wander, no matter what stage they’re in. The new advisory council for the Arkansas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is looking into ways we can better protect some of our most vulnerable.
Mark Aloway is a die-hard Razorbacks fan. The 67-year-old Air Force veteran is also in the early stages of dementia.
“I’m at a loss sometimes and I get upset,” Aloway said.
He says it’s scary and doesn’t even leave Lonoke County without his wife.
“My wife has me on a short leash,” he said. “There’s only a few places I can go that she doesn’t go with me and very seldom do I go anywhere without her.”
To help prevent wandering from happening, Aloway signed up for med alert.
“It’ll have information about me, a code in there and my picture will be there,” he said. “It’s just something, protection for me and my family.”
Some states partner with law enforcement to give people with Alzheimer’s and dementia tracking devices.
Arkansas doesn’t do this yet.
“The state here doesn’t have that extra money,” Aloway said.
But it’s something the state is working on.
“They have a new advisory council for the Governor to talk about health and so forth,” Aloway said.
In the meantime, you can look for warning signs, like a loved one talking about the past.
“They may be mentioning that previous workplace they used to encounter,” said Kirsten Dickens with the Arkansas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “Maybe they typically take a walk and they come back later than usual.”
The Alzheimer’s Association has many resources and information about wandering. To learn more about how you can better protect yourself or someone you love, click HERE.