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Kevin and Avonte's Law passed to help people who are prone to wandering

Posted at 2:25 AM, Apr 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-27 08:20:28-04

There are many complications that come from dementia and one big issue is wandering.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, six out of every 10 people with dementia wander.

"It places great emotional strain on the family and the longer someone is missing the chance for a successful outcome goes down considerably," said Ilene Rosenthal, the program director at the Alzheimer's Association Greater Maryland Chapter.

Rosenthal said the passing of Kevin and Avonte's Law is a significant piece of legislation for the Alzheimer's community.

"It will create some resources for state and local law enforcement and health and non-profit agencies that will enable them to do more work to prevent wandering and to help reunite families more quickly," she said.

Rosenthal said there are steps families can take once a loved one is diagnosed with dementia to keep them safe and find them quickly if they do wander off.

She recommended families look into getting a medical alert bracelet, which has a person's information like name, address and telephone number.

If a police officer finds a person who is wandering, they can enter the name on the bracelet to pull up a national database and contact the person's family, she said.

"We can help families understand the risk involved and steps that they can take both through low-tech bracelets and higher tech tracking devices that can help them," Rosenthal said.

The Alzheimer's Association offers a number of free services, including information about wandering and ways to prevent it. People can call their 24/7 hotline to speak to a dementia expert at 1-800-272-3900 or visit their website.