The Greenbelt Police Department in partnership with the Greenbelt Assistance in Living Program and City Administration have developed a multilayered approach to address critically missing Greenbelt residents with Autism, Intellectual, Developmental Disabilities, Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of cognitive impairment. The ability to disseminate information in a clear and concise manner is imperative to bringing a person home safely. The Alzheimer’s Association states that 6 out 10 people with Alzheimer’s/Dementia will wander in their lifetime. The goal of the CMP project is to provide residents with potential tools to prevent wandering as well as an efficient protocol to follow if a person elopes from their home. Therefore, we have compiled a proactive procedure to follow:
Register for the Greenbelt Alert System. This will allow you to receive text alerts, emails or calls notifying you if a Greenbelt resident is missing with details, a picture and specific information that would be useful in bringing that person home to their family and friends. Please visit City of Greenbelt Alerts to register and click on Critically Missing Person Project. There is also a free mobile app for iPhone and Android - "Everbridge Mobile Member”
If you are the care partner for a person with a cognitive impairment, please enroll them in the CMP Program. Enrollment is free and consists of completing a registration form for the Greenbelt Police with basic information about the vulnerable resident and a photo. If the Greenbelt Police have this information on file in a usable format, officers can disseminate the missing person’s information much faster to all sources.
Greenbelt Assistance in Living Program
Attention CMP Project
25 Crescent Road, Greenbelt, MD 20770
Wandering Preventive Measures
Signs of Wandering Behavior
A person may be at risk for wandering if he or she:
- Comes back from a regular walk or drive later than usual
- Tries to fulfill former obligations, such as going to work
- Tries or wants to "go home," even when at home
- Is restless, paces or makes repetitive movements
- Has a hard time locating familiar places like the bathroom, bedroom or living room
- Acts as if doing a hobby or chore, but nothing gets done (such as moves around pots or dirt without actually planting anything)
Tips to Reduce Wandering
Wandering can happen, even if you are the most diligent of caregivers. Use the following strategies to help lower the chances:
- Carry out daily activities. Having a routine can provide structure. Learn about creating a daily plan.
- Identify the most likely times of day that wandering may occur. Plan activities at that time. Activities and exercise can reduce anxiety, agitation, and restlessness.
- Reassure the person if he or she feels lost, abandoned or disoriented. If the person with dementia wants to leave to "go home" or "go to work," use communication focused on exploration and validation. Refrain from correcting the person. For example, "We are staying here tonight. We are safe and I'll be with you. We can go home in the morning after a good night's rest."
- Ensure all basic needs are met. Has the person gone to the bathroom? Is he or she thirsty or hungry?
- Avoid busy places that are confusing and can cause disorientation. This could be a shopping mall, grocery stores or other busy venues.
- Place locks out of the line of sight. Install either high or low on exterior doors, and consider placing slide bolts at the top or bottom.
- Use devices that signal when a door or window is opened. This can be as simple as a bell placed above a door or as sophisticated as an electronic home alarm.
- Provide supervision. Do not leave someone with dementia unsupervised in new or changed surroundings. Never lock a person in at home or leave him or her in a car alone.
- Keep car keys out of sight. If the person is no longer driving, remove access to car keys — a person with dementia may not just wander by foot. The person may forget that he or she can no longer drive. If the person is still able to drive, consider using a GPS device to help if they get lost.