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Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program Reauthorization of 2009

August 4, 2009
Floor Statement
Rep. Maxine Waters [D-CA]: Approximately 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, and the majority of them live at home under the care of family and friends. It is estimated that 60 percent of Alzheimer's patients are likely to wander away from their homes. Wanderers are vulnerable to dehydration, weather conditions, traffic hazards, and individuals who prey on those who are defenseless. Up to 50 percent of wandering Alzheimer's patients will become seriously injured or die if they are not found within 24 hours of their departure from home.

The Missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program is a Department of Justice program that helps local communities and law enforcement officials quickly identify persons with Alzheimer's disease who wander or who are missing and reunite them with their families.

Since its inception more than 10 years ago, this program has funded a national registry of more than 172,000 individuals at risk of wandering and has reunited over 12,000 wanderers with their families. It is a highly successful program whereby 88 percent of registrants who wander are found within the first 4 hours of being reported missing. A total of 1,288 wandering incidents were reported to the program in 2007. The program has a 98 percent success rate in recovering enrollees who are reported missing.

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