New local registry will help protect vulnerable persons

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The Alzheimer Society of Chatham-Kent staff welcome news the Chatham-Kent Police Service is planning to launch a local online Vulnerable Persons Registry
The Alzheimer Society of Chatham-Kent staff welcome news the Chatham-Kent Police Service is planning to launch a local online Vulnerable Persons Registry

The Chatham-Kent Police Service is making good on its promise to launch a free, online Vulnerable Persons Registry to assist people who may be at risk due to physical, medical or mental health conditions.

According to Const. Renee Cowell, CKPS public information officer, the registry is an online tool that will allow both caregivers and family members to submit vital information to the police if they feel that someone under their care is at risk. If the police do become involved with a person who is registered in the online system, they will have quick access to this vital information, allowing officers to respond quickly and effectively.

“The registry provides critical information such as a person’s description, routines, medical needs, favourite attractions, special needs and emergency contact information should an emergency arise,” the CKPS release said. “Families and caregivers are encouraged to also submit a digital photo of the vulnerable person and to update their file online every year on the birth month of the registrant.”

As an organization that supports vulnerable persons with conditions that fall under the dementia umbrella, such as Alzheimer or Pick’s disease, the Alzheimer Society of Chatham-Kent staff was happy to hear about the registry.

“The Alzheimer Society of Chatham-Kent is pleased about the recent launch of the no-fee, online CKPS Vulnerable Persons Registry for those with Alzheimer disease or other related dementias, as well as other vulnerable persons in Chatham-Kent,” said CEO Mary Ellen Parker. “This secure database will allow CKPS to access personal information about those registered who may become lost and assist them in returning home.”

While the society has a national database, Parker said having a local database will be a great addition to the tools they already have to support clients and their caregivers.

The Medic Alert Safely Home is a nation-wide program, which through an ID bracelet allows first responders to quickly identify the person by calling Medic Alert’s 24-hour emergency hotline.

“A person with dementia can go missing no matter how careful you are, and it’s not always possible to predict when it might happen,” Parker explained. “There are ways to lower the chances, like planning ahead. Learn more about being prepared. The Alzheimer Society program, Finding Your Way, can help families and friends prepare should a person go missing.”

Parker said there are more than 3,000 people in Chatham-Kent with a diagnosis of dementia. With a population of 104,000 in the municipality, that is a total of 3% of the people.

“Caring for someone with dementia can be rewarding, but as the disease progresses, it can be more demanding. We often term it as the long goodbye,” Parker noted.

To hook dementia patients and their caregivers up with the resources they need, Parker said the Society has the First Link program, which involves working together to link individuals and families to a community of learning, services and support through case management.

There is no cause or cure yet for the disease, but Parker said there are some medications that can slow the process for some patients. The first step if you suspect a loved one is suffering from dementia is to contact the Alzheimer Society or get the person in to see a family physician.

She said there are many types of dementia and the type will dictate the approach taken to care of the patient.

The Alzheimer Society is also the lead agency for the Erie St. Clair LHIN for education of staff in long-term care work, such as retirement homes, hospitals and community agencies. The society is doing advanced training in responsive behaviours – teaching that behaviours in people with dementia are often a response to something in the environment or their own health. Factors such as bright light, noise or pain can cause agitation in patients.

Staff are trained to look at medical and environmental reasons for behaviours, Parker said, to see how a different approach can better manage the reaction.

All the programs offered in the community, including the Adult Day program, In-Home Respite, education and Behavioural Supports Ontario can be accessed by calling 519-352-1043 or through www.alzheimerca/chathamkent.

For more information specifically about the Vulnerable Person Registry, please go to www.ckpolice.com/vulnerable-persons-registry/.

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