Safeguarding Loved Ones: The Vital Role of Identification for Individuals with Memory Issues

In our communities, there are individuals facing the daily challenges of memory loss, Alzheimer's disease, and dementia. Among the many difficulties they encounter, wandering poses a significant risk to their safety.

Tonight, a simple encounter underscored the urgent need for awareness and action regarding the importance of identification for these vulnerable individuals.  An elderly lady was walking down the street very slowly.  When a neighbor saw her still walking another street over, stopping often and looking confused, they went to see if they could help.  She didn’t know where her home was, her name or any family member’s name and she wasn’t wearing any identification.  Fortunately, through a group effort by neighbors, she was able to return home the same evening. 

Imagine a loved one, unable to recall their own name or address, wandering the streets alone.  It's a scenario that strikes fear into the hearts of caregivers and family members alike.  Yet, it's a reality that countless families confront each day.

In these moments of confusion and uncertainty, having proper identification can mean the difference between a safe return home and a potential tragedy.  Whether it's a wearable ID bracelet, an emergency alert pendant, or another form of visible identification, these simple devices serve as lifelines for those who may become lost or disoriented.

Research shows that wandering behavior is distressingly common among individuals with memory issues.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it's estimated that six out of ten people with dementia will wander at some point, often without warning or understanding of their surroundings.

This puts them at risk of injury, exploitation, or even death if they are not quickly located and identified.

That's why it's crucial for caregivers, family members, and community members to take proactive steps to ensure the safety of those living with memory issues.  Providing them with proper identification is one of the most effective ways to do so.

But it's not enough to simply equip them with ID.  We must also be prepared to respond swiftly and effectively if they do become lost. Familiarize yourself with local resources and support networks, such as community watch programs or online platforms like Nextdoor, that can aid in the search and rescue efforts for missing individuals.

By recognizing the importance of identification and taking proactive measures to address the risks of wandering, we can help ensure the safety and well-being of our loved ones and neighbors—fostering communities where they can feel safe and supported, even in moments of confusion and vulnerability.  Refer to the link below for other detailed recommendations on wandering.


Written by: Melissa McCormick, Sr. Personal Assistant, Home Vitality Care

Source:  Alzheimer’s Association - " Wandering and getting lost:   Who’s at risk and how to be prepared”- https://www.alz.org/media/Documents/alzheimers-dementia-wandering-behavior-ts.pdf