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  • Writer's pictureCheyenne Bholla

Lost and Found: Training First Responders on Dementia Patients Who Wander

Updated: Dec 23, 2023

A University of Waterloo research group has created tool kits for emergency services and neighbours to address the issue of people with dementia goes missing.

Lili Liu leads the research group which received $2.1 million in federal funding last year to come up with ways to prevent and address seniors with dementia going missing.

In Canada, dementia largely affects older women, and often involves memory loss.

More than 600,000 Canadians live with dementia, according to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, and that number could near 1 million by 2030.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common of more than 25 diseases and conditions that cause dementia, a term used to describe a set of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain. Dementia is largely incurable. Going missing is a common problem — and fear — for people with dementia: about 60 per cent of those with dementia will wander away at least once.

If they are not found within 12 hours, there is a 50 per cent chance that they will be found injured or dead, Liu said after her team compiled seven years of research on the condition.



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