Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $150,000)
Wandering is an unfortunate trend that is a paralyzing reality for thousands of families. Many individuals with dementia and their caregivers persevere quietly and alone. With the health crisis of a global pandemic pushing everyone further into isolation, the resources available can seem even more limited to families trying to locate a lost loved one or to someone disoriented and unable to find their way home. However, San Diegans do not need to feel so alone or helpless. With an effective infrastructure in place, the trauma experienced can be minimized or even prevented. Alzheimer’s San Diego and the San Diego Sheriff’s Department are proposing a collaborative effort to build a broader network of support for San Diego County families. The lasting benefit of this project will enhance the positive impact on families who receive a more compassionate, understanding and appropriate response to emergency situations.
Through this project, Alzheimer’s San Diego and the San Diego Sheriff’s Department will: 1. Expand the AlzSafety Workgroup to further coordinate efforts with law enforcement and other partners to improve community safety for people living with dementia; 2. Provide professional training to law enforcement focusing on signs of dementia, effective means of interacting with people living with dementia, wandering risks, and available resources; 3. Coordinate in-service training for Alzheimer’s San Diego Clinical Services team on San Diego County Sheriff's Department Take Me Home program; 4. Offer community safety education classes to people living with dementia, their care partners, and the general public; 5. Host a registration event for the Take Me Home program to expand awareness of wandering and increase enrollment in the program; 6. Translate community safety education curriculum and supporting materials into Spanish; 7. Translate Take Me Home brochures and application into six additional languages; and 8. Expand the Law Enforcement Referral Program by training additional members of the Alzheimer’s San Diego Clinical Services team.
Alzheimer’s San Diego is a trusted and valued community resource that respects the dignity of every person living with dementia. This project would ensure San Diegans receive the highest quality of support, tailored to the ever-changing needs of the community. With the right tools and training, local families impacted by dementia can find joy in even the darkest moments of this devasting disease.