New advisory system for endangered persons - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New advisory system for endangered persons


KWWL (CEDAR RAPIDS)-- There are currently an estimated 69,000 Iowans living with Alzheimer's disease, a condition that causes disorientation and memory loss. That's according to the Alzheimer's Association. That number is expected to grow to 77,000 by 2050.

On Tuesday, a new program called the Iowa Endangered Persons Advisory (EPA) was announced. Law enforcement officials and advocacy groups say it will help track down friends and family whose conditions cause them to wander off.

"I'll never forget the frantic call I received from my father that day. The fear and frustration in his voice still haunts me, as he described my mother being missing, and that there no signs of her anywhere," said Debbie Jones, who recalls a day when her father called to say her mother, who suffered from Alzheimer's, was nowhere to be found.

Jones' story is becoming more and more common for people who have friends and relatives living with Alzheimer's and dementia.

"Six out of ten people with Alzheimer's disease will wander from their homes or care giving facilities, as the disease progresses," said Kelly Hauer with the Alzheimer's Association.

Once a person with a cognitive impairment is reported missing, law enforcement officials will put the endangered person advisory into effect. That means immediately notifying officers in the area where the person went missing, and entering their information into the statewide missing persons database.

Chief Greg Graham of the Cedar Rapids Police Department explained that officials will also utilize "the surrounding law enforcement agencies, the media, and we can mobilize volunteer groups, and we can do all kinds of stuff like that to find the missing person."

If a person goes missing, Graham says to notify authorities and begin checking in the immediate vicinity immediately, as nearly all adults with dementia are found within 1.5 miles of where they went missing.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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