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Australas J Ageing. 2018 Sep;37(3):E97-E103. doi: 10.1111/ajag.12542. Epub 2018 May 22.

People with dementia getting lost in Australia: Dementia-related missing person reports in the media.

Author information

1
The Dementia Collaborative Research Centre: Carers and Consumers, School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study aimed to understand the circumstances in which people with dementia become lost, and the outcomes of these incidents.

METHODS:

A search was conducted of news articles published in Australia between 2011 and 2015 reporting a missing person with a diagnosis of dementia.

RESULTS:

Over the five-year period, 130 missing person cases were reported. The average age of the missing person was 75 years with more men (74%) than women reported missing. Most missing persons travelled on foot (62%) and were last seen at home (66%). The newspaper reports described 92 (71%) of the individuals being found. Of these, 60% were found well, 20% were found injured, and 20% were deceased.

CONCLUSIONS:

People with dementia are at risk of becoming lost from their homes or health-care settings, and this can have catastrophic outcomes. Care strategies need to focus on promoting autonomy while ensuring adverse outcomes are minimised.

KEYWORDS:

becoming lost; dementia; elopement; missing person; wandering

PMID:
29787630
DOI:
10.1111/ajag.12542
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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