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New initiative to help find missing people with dementia

A new initiative has been launched to help search and rescue volunteers find vulnerable people reported missing in Dorset with health conditions such as dementia.

Carers are encouraged by Dorset Search & Rescue to complete a ‘Safe and Sound’ form with details about the person they look after. This information is kept safely by the carer and handed over to the police only in the event of a search operation being launched because the looked after person has wandered off or got lost.

Nearly a third of all searches involving DorSAR are to find someone with dementia.

Carl Bradley of Dorset-based specialist dementia care home provider Waypoints welcomed the initiative. Carl said: “People with dementia can get confused and lose their bearings very easily. This can be frightening for them and it can put their safety at risk. Having all the relevant information pulled together and ready to hand over immediately to the emergency services when someone goes missing should give carers peace of mind that in such a scenario they will be helping to speed up the search effort.”

DorSAR is a registered charity without any central government funding and is on call 365 days a year. Their highly trained volunteers assist the police, coastguard and other emergency services to find missing people by deploying on foot, bike, tracking and swift water rescue teams.

They have launched the ‘Safe and Sound’ initiative so that valuable background information can be collated in advance by carers and professional health and social care workers and readily available if a search operation is requested. The information includes an up to date head and shoulders picture of the vulnerable person.


Brian Kennedy of Dorset Search and Rescue: “Every minute counts when a vulnerable person is lost, particularly during the winter months. It would greatly help us to have all the information to hand so that if we are called out we know as much as possible about the person we are looking for.”

The information leaflet and questionnaire for carers to complete can be downloaded from

Waypoints, which has a specialist care home at Verwood and a new home scheduled to open at Upton next year, offers groups which serve their local community, such as the rescue group volunteers, dementia awareness training to help them carry out their duties with a better understanding of the condition.

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