Worried about Wandering?

The Safer Walking Framework is an initiative delivered by Land Search and Rescue New Zealand (Land SAR ).  It is about supporting, educating, and reducing the risk of people that, potentially or actually, get lost or go missing due to cognitive impairment in NZ.

Going missing is not uncommon

An estimated 74,000 people in New Zealand are at risk of going missing. Up to a third go missing each year but most situations are quickly resolved by family and friends. About 23% of the time, police are involved to help find the missing person and about 100 situations per year result in a full search and rescue operation.  The time taken to find people who are missing and with a cognitive impairment is critical for their wellbeing. Finding someone within 24 hours of going missing significantly reduces their risk of fatality.  Going missing and being found too late is preventable. There are many ways to reduce the risk of going missing, while preserving a person’s freedom. 

Reducing the risk of someone going missing

There are many aids available and suitable for people who are at risk of going missing. The Safer Walking website (https://saferwalking.nz/) has a variety of information on tools and technology to help prevent a person from getting lost. If agreement is given by the person at risk of getting lost, cell phone applications can be used to monitor the whereabouts of a loved one, along with GPS devices, bluetooth devices, Personal Locator Beacons, Sport and Spot Trace Satellite Devices, or WanderSearch devices.

Devices that use GPS are particularly good solutions for peace of mind and to provide the person with freedom to go for walks without the risk of going missing. With a GPS device, the person can be located straight away by family, whānau or carers using an app or the provider’s customer service center. When GPS devices are not an option or suitable, WanderSearch   devices are recommended. 
Think about the places where your loved one goes walking and what tools would best work for them. 

A common strategy in addition to location aids, mentioned in Our Stories ( https://saferwalking.nz/our-stories/) on the Safer Walking website, is raising awareness in your community and neighbourhood about how you want the community to respond when seeing someone at risk of getting lost, when out and about.

Some great examples of how people have used location aids and community awareness to reduce the risk of their loved one from going missing, while enabling freedom to go out and about, can be watched on the  Our Stories page on the Safer Walking website. 

Be ready with how to respond if someone goes missing

You can complete a Safer Walking Profile  and have family, whānau or carers keep it in a safe place so they are ready with information for the police if the person ever goes missing. Download and complete the Safer Walking Profile .

Identification objects such as a card, bracelet or other item with the person’s name and a contact phone number is useful to be carried by the person who goes walking. This makes it easy if they need help when out and about. MedicAlert provides medical identification products in a variety of shapes and forms including necklaces, bracelets and wallet cards. You can find more information on the Safer Walking website  or MedicAlert website

Websites of interest

For more information on safer walking, visit the Safer Walking website  or Wandersearchnz 

For information on New Zealand Land Search and Rescue  (LandSAR).




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