Canada announces $2.1 million to enhance search and rescue capabilities for people living with dementia

Public Safety Canada

Ottawa, Ontario

The number of people with dementia who go missing is steadily increasing across the country and delays in locating them can result in tragic outcomes.

Today, the Honourable Bill Blair, President of the Queen’s Privy Council and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, announced $2.1 million in funding to support a three-year University of Waterloo research project to enhance Canada’s search and rescue system to better respond when people living with dementia go missing.

Sixty percent of people living with dementia will wander away at least once and some of them will do so repeatedly. This has an impact on search and rescue resources.

The project, entitled Managing Risks of Going Missing among Persons Living with Dementia by Building Capacities of SAR Personnel, First Responders and Communities, will help to build the capacity and understanding within the search and rescue community to work with this vulnerable population, build research partnerships and increase systemic coordination.

As the rates of dementia in Indigenous populations are disproportionately higher than the general Canadian population, this project will also develop protocols for first responders in two Indigenous communities as part of their work in seven provinces.

The Government of Canada is proud to support initiatives like this one, that will result in more effective and better-coordinated search and rescue capacity, and help keep Canadians safe.

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