Mayor Walters Announces that City of Cuyahoga Falls First in State of Ohio to Partner with MedicAlert Foundation to Provide Free Medical IDs and Services to Falls Residents At-Risk for Wandering

Jul 31, 2017

On Monday, July 31, 2017, Mayor Don Walters, along with Police Chief Jack Davis and Fire Chief Paul Moledor, in partnership with MedicAlert Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association Greater East Ohio Chapter, announced a free program aimed to protect Cuyahoga Falls residents with dementia and autism who are at-risk for wandering emergencies. The City of Cuyahoga Falls is the first in the State of Ohio to provide MedicAlert to its residents.

Through the new program funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Cuyahoga Falls Police Department will now be able to enroll local residents (and their caregivers), via an online portal, into the MedicAlert national registry/database to receive a free medical identification bracelet and free 24/7 emergency support services. Residents who have loved ones that are at-risk for wandering are encouraged to enroll in the free program. Interested residents may contact the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department at 330.971.8333. Forms are also available online by visiting http://www.cityofcf.com/departments/police.

“We are incredibly proud to be the first city in the State of Ohio to partner with the MedicAlert Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association to provide this added layer of safety and support for our residents and family members that are at-risk for wandering,” stated Mayor Don Walters. “MedicAlert has been hailed as an important part of the overall safety plan and the charity reports that there is a 98% success rate for locating missing persons when MedicAlert products and services are utilized.”

MedicAlert has developed specialized services to address wandering emergencies: MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® is for individuals with Alzheimer’s or related dementia, and MedicAlert Found® is for children and adults with autism spectrum and developmental disorders. These services are being offered at no charge to community members, along with a free MedicAlert identification bracelet.

“We’re excited to see Cuyahoga Falls take a proactive role in handling wandering emergencies,” said Cheryl Kanetsky, LSW, MBA, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association Greater East Ohio Area Chapter. “The Alzheimer’s Association is a national partner with MedicAlert, through the Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return service, so that individuals with Alzheimer's or a related dementia who wander or have a medical emergency are provided 24-hour assistance, no matter when or where the person is reported missing.”

“We know that wandering is a grave concern for families, especially those with loved ones who have a dementia or autism spectrum diagnosis,” says David Leslie, President and CEO for MedicAlert Foundation. “Therefore, we are pleased to work with the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department to further protect their community members who are at-risk.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association:

• Six in 10 people with dementia will wander. People can wander or become confused about their location at any stage of Alzheimer’s disease, even the early stage.
• More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, including more than 13,000 people in Summit County.
• Every 66 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s.
• Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, the most expensive disease in the United States, and the only cause of death in the top ten in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured, or slowed.

MedicAlert® + Alzheimer's Association Safe Return®

• If an individual with Alzheimer's or a related dementia wanders and becomes lost, caregivers can call the 24-hour emergency response line (1.800.625.3780) to report it.
• A community support network will be activated, including the Alzheimer Association and law enforcement agencies, to help reunite the person who wandered with the caregiver or a family member. With this service, critical medical information will be provided to emergency responders when needed.
• If a citizen or emergency personnel finds the person with dementia, they can call the toll-free number listed on person's MedicAlert + Safe Return ID jewelry. MedicAlert + Safe Return will notify the listed contacts, making sure the person is returned home.