Whenever we hear of a vulnerable senior citizen reported missing, everyone helps to spread the word and volunteers often come and help with the search, if need be. The Dutchess County Office for the Aging can also help to spread the word in hopes the missing senior will be located quickly, especially during this coldest portion of winter. The statistics on dementia and wandering from the Alzheimer’s Association tell the story. At some point, six out of every 10 seniors with dementia will wander.

One of the goals of the Office of The Aging is to help prevent wandering by raising awareness of the many services they offer.  It is almost impossible to watch a person’s comings and goings every second of every day, even for the most dedicated caregivers. For the individual suffering from dementia, they may not feel they are wandering at all since they may have a specific goal in mind, such as a schedule from when they were younger, like heading for work or visiting family.

If you are out of town or you can't get to your parents' house because of weather, there's a program called 'Are you Okay?', in conjunction with the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office. It’s free to sign-up for this program and here’s how it works. A computer will call their home at a time they designate every day.  If no one answers, the computer will call their emergency contact.  If that person doesn't answer, the Sheriff’s Office will dispatch a unit to check on the resident.  Call the Office of the Aging for an application, 845-486-2555.

You can get more information on these programs as well as others by in the brochure “Staying Safe at Home,” which you can find here or request one be sent to you by calling (845) 486-2555.

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