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Safe Return
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The MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® Program assists in the safe and timely return of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias who wander and become lost. It is a nationwide identification, support, and registration program working at the community level. MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® provides assistance whether a person becomes lost locally or far from home. Assistance is available 24 hours, every day, whenever a person is lost or found.

Memory loss and disorientation due to dementia are more common than many people realize. It is also dangerous. Individuals have been located terrified in heavy traffic, lost overnight, and even dead. Safe Return® minimizes these risks.

Facts on wandering

An individual with Alzheimer’s is likely to wander at some point during the disease. Identifying the cause of the behavior can help eliminate or reduce its occurrence.

Factors that lead to wandering

  • Medication side effects

  • Stress

  • Restlessness

  • Agitation

  • Anxiety

  • Inability to recognize familiar people, places, and objects

  • Fear arising from the misinterpretation of sights and sounds

  • Desire to fulfill former obligations, such as going to work or looking after a child

Tips for reducing wandering behavior

  • Encourage movement and exercise to reduce anxiety, agitation, and restlessness

  • Involve the person in productive daily activities, such as folding laundry or preparing dinner

  • Remind the person that he or she is in the right place

  • Reassure the person if he or she feels lost, abandoned, or disoriented

Tips to protect your loved one from wandering

  • Enroll the person in the MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return®, a nationwide identification system designed to assist in the safe return of people who become lost when wandering

  • Inform your neighbors of the person’s condition and keep a list of their names and telephone numbers

  • Keep your home safe and secure by installing deadbolt locks on exterior doors and limiting access to potentially dangerous areas

  • Be aware that the person may not only wander by foot but also by car or by other modes of transportation

Tips for preparing for emergencies

  • Keep a list of emergency phone numbers and addresses of the local police and fire departments, hospitals, and poison control as well as MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® help lines

  • Check fire extinguishers and smoke alarms, and conduct fire drills regularly

Is it right for your loved one?

If you can answer "yes" to any of the following questions, MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® may be an ideal safety precaution for your family member:

  • Does your family member leave the residential care setting? (Doctor's visit, walk around the block, weekend with the family.)

  • Is there potential for your family member to become confused and disoriented, and perhaps unable to find her way back to the residential care setting?

  • Has your family member wandered or left the residence without supervision in the past?

  • Does your family member have difficulty in communicating?

Safe Return provdes its registrants with:

  • Identification products including jewelry, wallet cards, and clothing labels

  • National photo and information database

  • A 24-hour, toll-free emergency number

  • Alzheimer's Association local chapter support

  • Wandering behavior education and training for caregivers and families

Financial Assistance

The family of Morton Plotsky has generously established the Morton Plotsky Safe Return® Emblem Fund to pay the registration fee for qualified applicants.

Please call (512) 241-0420 or email us to find out if you qualify for financial assistance.


Call the Alzheimer's Association, Capital of Texas Chapter (800) 367-2132 for registration information and assistance.

For more information on MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return®, please click here.


Alzheimer's Association

Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.