Apr 5, 2013

Twitter Helps Daughter Find Missing "Mum" with Alzheimer's

The lost woman living with Alzheimer's was found 8 miles from her home. That is how far she had walked while lost.

By +Bob DeMarco
+Alzheimer's Reading Room 

Alzheimer's Disease
The Internet is the mot powerful communication medium in the world. It could be used as an effective tool to locate missing persons including persons suffering from Alzheimer's and related dementia.

It never crossed my mind before but now it seems obvious. Social media could prove to be one of the most effective ways to locate missing Alzheimer's and dementia patients worldwide.

Think about it. Twitter, Facebook, Google+ the list goes on and on. A fast, free way to disseminate information and a picture about a person living with dementia who is missing.

Not convinced? A woman living with Alzheimer's was found walking around aimlessly 8 miles from home thanks to a tweet on Twitter.

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In Belfast, Ireland, Joanne Mehaffey's mother, Diane, who lives with Alzheimer's went missing. Joanne who was not at home and  felt helpless.

What did she do? She turned to Twitter and Facebook for help. She encouraged all of her followers to retweet her message along with the picture of her 'mum' she included.

She tweeted: This is my mum & she's gone #missing. Help try & bring her home safe #missing #belfast #plsRT #alzheimers.

Imagine this. The lost woman was found by Christina McStravick who noticed her walking by her home. The woman who found the mum actually received the tweet identifying her from someone who retweeted the original tweet.

The lost woman living with Alzheimer's was found 8 miles from her home. That is how far she had walked while lost.

According to the Alzheimer's Association about 60 percent of persons living with Alzheimer's will wander. This makes the potential pool of persons who might wander in the U.S. 3,000,000 right now. More than 5 million Americans live with dementia.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) more than 35 million people are living with dementia worldwide. Every four seconds someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

What happens to persons living with dementia that wander?
  • Of those found within 12 hours, 93 percent survive. Seven percent don't. So, about one in 14 don't make it home alive.
  • Of those lost more than 24 hours, only a third survive. Think about it. 67 out of 100 don't survive.
  • Of those lost more than 72 hours, only 20 percent survive. 80 percent never make it home alive.

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Bob DeMarco
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized Influencer, speaker, and expert in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community Worldwide. The Alzheimer's Reading Knowledge Base contains more than 4,000 articles, and the ARR has more than 343,000 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.
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