Alzheimer's Facts:

  • Currently 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease and the incidence keeps increasing (2008 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures)
  • As the U.S. populations ages, the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease will increase
    • 13 percent of people over 65 have Alzheimer's
    • 42 percent of people over 85 have Alzheimer's
    • In 2011, the 78.2 million baby boomers start turning 65
    • By 2050, 11 to 16 million people over 65 will have Alzheimer's and 60 percent of people over 85 will have Alzheimer's
  • Estimates of Worldwide Prevalence of Alzheimer's disease range 24 -29 Million
    • The numbers are expected to triple or quadruple by 2050
    • Currently the U.S. makes up 20 percent of those suffering from Alzheimer's disease
    • The largest growth is expected in Asia Pacific, especially in China and India, where cultural context and negative stigmas may make a service like Project Lifesaver very slow to be adopted.
    • The opportunity outside of the U.S. is at least as large as in the U.S.
  • Wandering is the most life-threatening behavior associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) (Source: Alzheimer's Association)
    • Occurs at any stage of the disease (SAR Research website)
    • There is no way to predict who will wander or when and how it might happen. The best advice for caregivers is to be prepared!
    • When people with Alzheimer's wander away from a caregiver, they seldom seek help, do not usually respond to shouts, and leave few physical clues to their whereabouts.
    • 69 percent of wandering cases are associated with severe consequences.
    • 46 percent mortality rate if not located within 24 hours
  • 59 percent of people affected with Alzheimer's disease wander during course of disease (Alzheimer's Association), but estimates go up to 67 percent since many wandering incidence not reported to Law Enforcement
    • 45 percent of those cases end tragically in death if the person is not located within 24 hours
    • Over 125,000 people with AD critically wander each year in the US
      • Only ~34,000 are reported to police
      • 89 percent of the time the person is found within 1.2 km of home but only 14 percent of time on the road, so often hard to find
        • 28 percent of the time in creek/drainage
        • 33 percent of the time caught in briars or brush

Autism Facts: 

  • Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability and also leads to wandering behavior (According to the Autism Society of America:
    • As of October 2009, two new government studies indicate about 1 in 100 children have autism disorders
    • The new estimate means approx 673,000 American children have autism
    • One study from the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health, based on telephone surveys, said parents reported that approx. 1 in 91 children, ages 3 to 17, had autism including milder forms such as Asperger's syndrome 
    • Every 20 minutes, a child is diagnosed with autism. – Autism Speaks
    • 10-17 percent annual growth  
    • 90 percent of costs are in adult services
    • For individuals who run away or leave the home without supervision (also referred to as "elopement"), having locks on the doors can prevent them from leaving.
    • In a recent NAA online survey, 92 percent of the respondents said their autistic child was at risk of wandering.

Down Syndrome Facts: 

  • Many people with Down syndrome require lifetime care and have the potential to wander or be missing (
    • One in every 733 babies is born with Down syndrome. In the United States today, Down syndrome affects more than 400,000 people.
    • Down syndrome: Another big concern we hear from parents is their child wandering off - not because they're angry or running away, but rather, because they simply like to explore the neighborhood.

Wandering Impacts: 

  • Impact on person with disease
    • Wandering and not being found within 24 hours can lead to significant injury or death
    • Concern over wandering causes a need for more supervision limiting the sufferer's ability to do things
    • Inability to lead a normal life relative to the age
  • Impact on caregiver
    • The consequences of a wandering incident range from the sinking feeling of a missing loved one to a tragic lonely death
    • Increased strain on caregiver providing care and its effects (e.g. depression, health issues, reduced employment)
      • The estimated cost of the 9.8 million "volunteer" caregivers for those with Alzheimer's is $89 billion
  • Impact on facility
    • Average cost of Assisted Living facility for someone with Alzheimer's disease is ~$4000/month vs. ~$2000/month or non-AD patients
    • Costs associated with monitoring (e.g. a security system that warns when a resident with limited rights is leaving the building)
    • Limitations on outings for people with AD or other wandering illnesses, or additional staff and resources for the outing
  • Impact on Law Enforcement (required by law to search for those with diminished (mental) capacity that go missing)
    • Average search without PLI and LoJack SafetyNet takes multiple hours, many resources at an average cost of $100-350K
      • "Before Project Lifesaver a search would take 7-9 hours and 40-60 officers, now it takes an average of 12 minutes and 2 officers." -- Ed Rochford, Morris County, NJ
    • Often the search results in unfortunate results (if not found within 24 hours the person is likely to be found injured or dead)
    • Huge negative affect on Law Enforcement after unsuccessful SAR outcomes– low morale and negative PR

Source: Project Lifesaver

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