In December 2013, the Alzheimer Society of Ontario launched a brand new wandering prevention program.
Finding Your Way is the first of its kind to reach out to ethnic families, who may not want to acknowledge that Nai Nai or Grandpere has any more difficult issue than old age, and aren’t setting up safeguards. The program is offered in French, Punjabi, two Chinese dialects (and English, as well), across the Greater Toronto Area, on the new website www.findingyourwayontario.ca .
Finding Your Way offers interactive information to families coping with dementia in their households. The site includes safety kits, checklists and how to prepare for and handle emergency situations. “It’s an important issue right now because of the growing number of people with dementia in the community,” David Harvey, the society’s chief public policy and programs initiatives officer. Accepting dementia in a family member is also difficult depending on the ethnic group.
The stigma is more profound in some cultures. “We’re reaching out to the non-English speaking groups in a special way because they may not have the access to information that’s available through the media or through other mainstream languages,” Harvey says. Multilingual print, radio and television spots will all make the rounds in the media, hoping to shed light on the issue among different cultural groups. Vendramin says the campaign and online tools could help some who want to take care of their family behind closed doors and without help.
They can print checklists and information online for people who feel weird about it.
- The program is designed to reach out to those with dementia and their family.
- The website helps families set up a personal ID page with a recent photo and description of their family member.
- Then society officials want to branch out to the broader community, making sure residents know what to do if they come across a person with dementia who is lost.
- Finally, police are also taking part in the project. The society already collaborates with the Ontario Police College and the Ontario Provincial Police, but new videos and training tools will be available to these groups of officers. That information will help officers learn how to approach a patient with dementia.
Canadian statistics show that three out of five people with dementia will go missing at some point. Half of those people who go missing for 24 hours risk serious injury or even death from exposure, hypothermia or drowning. The majority of those who wander from home are found just 1.5 miles away. Take a look at the campaign’s website here.