Bracelets to help trace dementia patients who lose way

Bracelets to help trace dementia patients who lose way

Nightingales Medical Trust (NMT), which runs the ‘1090’ helpline for senior citizens in association with Bangalore police, is planning to reintroduce ‘Nightingale Trace,’ the concept it had introduced four years ago to help trace people with dementia who lose their way and ensure their safety. 

In 2010, the NMT had provided silver-coated bracelets to elderly citizens suffering from dementia and memory loss disorders who had registered with it.  “If the elderly people suffering from dementia and other memory loss disorders go missing, we can alert the police and the person’s immediate relatives,” said Radha S Murthy, managing trustee of NMT. 

“They can be easily identified with the bracelets inked with the identification number and contact number of the trust. But not all patients are willing to put on the bracelet.” 

The ‘Nightingales Trace’ service would be reworked in order to reach more number of people effectively.

“We will redesign the bracelets to make them look simple yet effective. But the service will be operational successfully when patients or their relatives register at our helpline or the trust,” Murthy said. 

Since the bracelets may be stolen or snatched, the NMT is planning to make them user friendly and safe. But details are still being worked out, NMT officials said. At present, the NMT-run Nightingales Centre for Ageing and Alzheimer’s (NCAA) has about 82 elderly people. Of them, 10 suffer from memory loss disorders. 

The staff at the NCAA maintain that it is difficult to trace the missing elderly people with dementia. 

Wandering is the most common behaviour shown by people with dementia and they often become disoriented, even in familiar places and thus have the higher risk of losing their way, according to the NCAA staff. 

“Recently an elderly man with dementia went missing from the NCAA,” a staff member at the NCAA recalled. “Our volunteers looked out for him at bus stops, malls and commercial junctions in the City. We also made a complaint to the police but he could not be traced. Luckily, he was spotted by one of his relatives who later handed him over to the NMT.” 

Launched in 2002, the ‘1090’ helpline has resolved 3,607 out of the 7,232 complaints it received. 

About four per cent of the complaints were about missing elders, most of whom had wandering behaviour because of dementia.

Elderly citizens seeking support and those who want to register themselves with the NMT can call 080-42426565 or 1090. 

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