Conference held on responding to “wandering” incidents

Wandering incidents include elders with dementia and children with autism

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Northwestern District Attorney’s Office and the Hampshire Sheriff’s Office will co-sponsor a conference about incidents of “wandering.”

The conference is for emergency responders and the public responding to incidents of “wandering.” These include elders with dementia or children with autism.

The event will promote strategies to protect against, and respond to such incidents, such as identification and GPS tracking devices.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, some 40%-75% of dementia cases are caused by Alzheimer’s disease, which affects an estimated 5.4 million Americans. The disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease.

The Centers for Disease Control also says that it is the sixth leading cause of death among all adults and the fifth leading cause for those aged 65 or older.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, six in ten people with dementia will wander. They may not remember their names or addresses and can become disoriented, even in familiar places.

The CDC says about half of children and youth with an autism spectrum disorder were reported to wander. Of those children, one in four were missing long enough to cause concern and were most commonly in danger of drowning or traffic injury.

The conference will be held from 8 a.m. until noon at the Bluebonnet Diner located at 324 King Street in Northampton.