Both the City of Newark Police Department and New Castle County Police Department have programs to help you be more prepared if you have a family member who is known to wander due to dementia or Autism. Please see below for information about these two programs.
City of Newark
The Newark Police Department (NPD), in partnership with MedicAlert Foundation, announced the implementation of a free program aimed to protect community members with dementia and autism who are at-risk for wandering emergencies. Through the new program, NPD will be able to enroll residents (and their caregivers), via an online portal, into the MedicAlert national registry/database to receive a free medical identification bracelet and free 24/7 emergency support services.
“This program will help us protect some of our most vulnerable residents,” said police chief Paul Tiernan. “We hope it will also provide their caregivers with peace of mind knowing their loved ones can immediately be identified if they have wandered.”
While the wandering statistics for Alzheimer’s disease and autism are staggering (6 in 10 adults with Alzheimer’s or related dementia will wander, and 50% of individuals with autism spectrum disorders will elope); MedicAlert has been hailed as an important part of the overall safety plan for families with a loved one at-risk of wandering. The charity reports there is a 98% success rate for locating missing persons when MedicAlert products and services are utilized.
“We know that wandering is a grave concern for families, especially those with loved ones who have a dementia or autism spectrum diagnosis,” says David Leslie, President and CEO for MedicAlert Foundation. “Therefore, we are pleased to work with the Newark Police Department to further protect their community members who are at risk.”
Interested residents may contact Victims Services Coordinator Melissa Pennachi at 302-366-7100 ext. 3137 or MPennachi@newark.de.us to register for the program or for more details. Residents can also initiate the registration process through any NPD officer.