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Florida Injury Prevention Programs for Seniors (FLIPS). Safer Communities for Persons with Dementia. Search Strategies. prepared by Meredeth Rowe, RN, PhD Univerity of Florida College of Nursing/Institute on Aging. Becoming lost. dementia changes memory changes

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florida injury prevention programs for seniors flips

Florida Injury Prevention Programs for Seniors (FLIPS)

Safer Communities for Persons with Dementia

Search Strategies

prepared by Meredeth Rowe, RN, PhD

Univerity of Florida College of Nursing/Institute on Aging

becoming lost
Becoming lost
  • dementia changes
    • memory changes
      • forget address; forget name or name of caregiver
    • judgment changes
      • cannot judge safety of situation
      • enter woods, highways, secluded areas
    • abstract thinking changes
      • unable to find caregiver
      • symbols and signs no longer make sense
      • cannot cross street safely
when do they get lost
When do they get lost
  • wandering from the home
    • frequent need to be up and walking but without clear idea of where or why
  • out with caregiver
  • leave the home angry or agitated
    • often will argue with caregiver about unrealistic ideas or hallucinations
  • leave when caregiver is distracted
    • happen in a matter of seconds
  • on a normal outing
    • walks, drive to nearby location
  • in professional settings
natural areas
Natural areas
  • ravine
  • construc site
  • salt creek channel
  • snowy ditch/road
  • wetland tree/brush
  • ponds/lakes
  • shallow water
  • swamps
  • bike path
  • cactus bed
  • corn field
  • creek bed
  • ditch/thick vegetati
  • dry creek bed
  • dry riverbed
  • field
  • hitchhiked/quarry
stories from searches
Stories from searches
  • officers searched all nearby areas but not successful; one officer went back on trail leading between buildings and saw what looked like a little footpath where some grass was bent over. The officer walked down the hidden trail to the edge of some water - the victim was back there floating in a swamp
  • because the victim’s body was found in bushes, the searchers at first didn’t find him - he was hard to spot
stories from searches8
Stories from searches
  • the field where victim was found had been searched soon after her disappearance but she was not found. We were probably within 40 feet of her - you would have to walk right on top of her to find her.
  • officers and dogs unsuccessfully combed the junkyard where victim was eventually found 300 yards from his home. An employee noted an odor coming from a car several days later and found the victim on the floorboard laying inside the car.
stories from searches9
Stories from searches
  • victim was found 4 years after her disappearance by 2 youths playing in field about 1 mile from her home
    • despite a massive search that used tracking dogs, a heat-seeking helicopter and hundreds of volunteers, victim was not found
    • search was concentrated mostly to west of the home, not the south where she was found
    • psychics gave their impressions
    • family posted 15,000 fliers
successful search strategies
Successful search strategies
  • start searching immediately
    • families should call law enforcement quickly
    • ensure phone access to caregiver and ensure someone is left at the home
    • do not wait for the individual ‘to return on his own’
    • treat caregiver with respect and empathy
successful search strategies11
Successful search strategies
  • develop a search strategy
    • cover an increasing circumference of where last seen
      • start with 1 mile
      • go out to 5 miles
      • > 5 mi unusual, but not usually associated with death unless driving, so less focus needed
    • cover all possibilities within that range
      • streets, highways
      • residential yards
      • easily accessible buildings
        • convenience stores, hospitals
    • continue through night
after initial search
After initial search
  • reconsider search strategy after ~ 6 hours
    • identify natural areas within 1 mile range
    • conduct intensive search
      • must visually inspect every space
      • concentrate on secluded spaces
      • shoulder-to-shoulder through dense vegetation
      • don’t leave any space out (junkyards, abandoned vehicles, roofs)
    • increase circumference to about 2 miles
  • rework same area if not successful
individuals leaving in cars
Individuals leaving in cars
  • generally found within radius of one tank of gas
  • generally abandon car in roadside ditch
  • walk away from car
    • search very similar to walkers
      • will be found in natural area within 1 mile of car
successful rescue
Successful rescue
  • contact Alzheimer’s Association
      • (local chapter number)
      • national - 800.272.3900; www.alz.org
      • encourage registration in Safe Return
  • additional information on research/presentation
      • Meredeth Rowe, RN, PhD
      • UF College of Nursing
      • 352-846-0678
      • mrowe@nursing.ufl.edu