Jan 25, 2010

Police Department Helps Special Needs Persons

We have created a new program to help families of persons suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s diseases. In the event that a person should wander away from home, the police can help find and return the person to where he or she belongs.

The program is called “Safe Return” and gives officers photos and information about key persons in the area who may suddenly disappear.

“We’ve had calls from panicked family members asking for us to find a parent who has wandered off, sometimes in the middle of the night,” says Chief Shawn Walker. “If we have a photo of the individual, description and know something about his behavior patterns, then we can quickly jump to assist the family and find the person – getting him home safely.”

“So we’re asking for assistance from the community. We want to know who in our community could use our help. If a family has an elderly person living with them who may wander away, we would like a color photo, a description of the person and a little information. Just give us a call and we’ll drop by to complete the form – or persons can come to the Police Department at 107 Allenton Street across from Town Hall.”

Pictures and information regarding citizens who have been voluntarily registered in the “Safe Return” program are stored in a confidential file at the Mt. Gilead Police Department and can be accessed only by authorized person. Participation is entirely voluntary.

More than four million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s Disease. By the middle of the 21st Century, it may affect as many as 14 million nationwide. The disease is widespread, affecting ten percent or more of the people 65 years or older and nearly half of those over 85. For more information, call 910-439-1855.

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