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Mar 4, 2015

Missing Persons in Australia – The Dementia Challenge

Family members, friends and sometimes employers report some 35,000 people as having vanished every year in our country. The actual number of missing persons in Australia is likely to be higher, although there is no way to calculate this accurately. Fortunately, the overwhelming number reunite with their loved ones in a few weeks. The private detective company Missing Persons in Australia is proud to have assisted in a number of these cases.

The 0.5% who never reappear are most likely to be adult males. Two thirds of the total missing people in Australia are either young persons, or those with dementia. The latter are among the most tragic cases because they may lack the mental capacity to find their way back, and may be misunderstood when they ask for help.

It’s important, in seeking to understand the dementia paradigm to know that many affected people feel compelled to exercise, and this may involve them walking away from home. This need not be a problem provided they have a carer with them, because it helps relieve their stress and boredom. It’s more a matter of working within the model.

For example if an aged parent in your care wants to continue with familiar patterns such as when they used to walk their kids to school, try and find another way that they can exercise at that time in the morning such as light gardening, or even sitting in a rocking chair. Their pent-up energy needs working off, not suppression. Thoughtfully managing it will help prevent them joining the ranks of missing people in Australia.

At other times, going walking is an indication of boredom. Just because the aged are less agile does not mean they don’t still need something to keep their minds busy. Consider involving them in your daily routine, or giving them jigsaw puzzles and turning on the television. Remember though, your senior is moving back towards childhood and children bore easily.

As dementia bites the sufferer may become confused because they want to reconnect to something in their past. Try to engage with them about it. Show you take their need seriously. Never correct what they remember. If you have letters and old photographs you may be able to satisfy their need that way.

Caring for people with advanced dementia is a 24/7 experience, especially as they can be obsessed by the idea of going to find something. Missing Persons in Australia has a task team dedicated to finding seniors who disappeared.

If you need advice you can call us on 1300 553 788 at any time of day or night or email info@missingpersonsinaustralia.com.au . Our lines are always open. Our operators are standing by right now.