County Board to Vote on Hahn Initiative to Locate Missing Individuals who have wandered

Los Angeles, CA— At the upcoming meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Janice Hahn will make the case for a groundbreaking countywide initiative to help locate individuals with dementia or autism who wander.

Wandering is a common problem associated with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and autism. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 60% of people with dementia will wander at some point while a study by the Interactive Autism Network found that 49% of children with autism will engage in wandering behavior. While the vast majority of these individuals are recovered, wandering cases can end in tragedy.

This Bring Our Loved Ones Home initiative includes establishing a voluntary system of trackable bracelets for at-risk individuals. While the Project Lifesaver bracelet is not under constant monitoring, when an individual wearing a bracelet goes missing, caretakers can inform the Sheriff’s Department who will be able to use helicopter-mounted receivers to locate the missing person. This system is currently being used in Glendale where it boasts a 100% success rate.  If this motion passed, LA County would become the first county to implement Project Lifesaver.

Supervisor Hahn developed this idea after becoming involved with the search for Nancy Paulikas, a Manhattan Beach resident who suffers from early-onset Alzheimer’s and has been missing since she wandered away from her family while visiting LACMA in October 2016.

In addition to implementing the Project Lifesaver bracelet system countywide, the motion, authored by Supervisor Hahn and coauthored by Supervisor Barger, would implement a new investigational checklist for law enforcement dealing with a missing persons case, better coordinate Jane and John Doe searches in hospitals, improve community alert systems, and enhance training for law enforcement and service providers who may come in contact with a wandering person.  These recommendations were prepared by the Bring Our Loved Ones Home Taskforce, created by Supervisor Hahn last year, which prepared its final report in December.

What: Vote on Bring Our Loved Ones Home Initiative

When: Tuesday, February 20 *Note: Meeting starts at 1pm*

Who: Supervisor Hahn, Supervisor Barger,  Testimony by law enforcement, advocates, and family members of individuals with dementia and autism.

RSVP to Liz Odendahl at lodendahl@bos.lacounty.gov