Local Organizations Help Protect Seniors from Wandering in the Cold

Local Organizations Help Protect Seniors 
from Wandering in the Cold

LANSING - With temperatures regularly dropping into the negatives, organizations like the Alzheimer's Association are looking to keep seniors safe this winter, through legislation passed to protect those who may wander.

Seven out of ten people who have Alzheimer's will end up wandering, and with current temperatures below freezing, things can get dangerous.

Legislation has been put in place to protect these vulnerable adults. It's known as the Mozelle Vulnerable Adult Act.

Called "Silver Alert" in other states similar to "Amber Alerts" for missing children, this act allows for people to call law enforcement if a known vulnerable adult has gone missing, and can't find their way home on their own.

"Really, it's easy to see what the risks are. For someone who is disoriented enough, that they're going to leave their home and wander. There are also concerns about judgement, and being dressed appropriately: having on appropriate footwear, having coat, scarves, mittens," said Barbra Swartz, Program Director of the Great Lakes Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.

Law enforcement is required to alert the media after they've been informed of a missing vulnerable adult.

Vulnerable adults can also wear a bracelet to identify themselves to law enforcement.

If you are concerned about someone you know wandering this winter, the Alzheimer's Association can be contacted at their 24 hour service line: 1-800-272-3900. There callers are connected with resources to devise a plan on how to help people with Alzheimer's.

And with the cold temperatures, officials urge everyone to regularly check on elderly neighbors, friends, and family to make sure they are taken care of this winter.

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