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Cognitive impairments behind one in five missing person searches

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thursday, 13 June 2019, 10:42AM
23 per cent of searches are linked to people with cognitive difficulties. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Locator devices are recommended for people with dementia but there aren't enough resources to get them out to those who need them.

The country's aging population is putting stress on emergency services, with one in five missing person searches involving people with cognitive impairments.

Statistics show 23 percent of all land searches are for wanderers.

These include people living with dementia-related conditions, autism disorders and intellectual disabilities.

That number is expected to rise as the population ages.

LandSAR chief executive Carl McOnie told Mike Hosking 38 groups around the country have access to tracking devices and pendants, and most are being distributed by volunteers.

"Unfortunately, the cost and the time that it takes to get these pendants out to people, we've only got less than 1,000 across the country at the moment."

He says that the volunteer nature of search and rescue operations can be a hindrance.

"This is for the most part being done by volunteers within the community. Land Search and Rescue is a volunteer organisation, and it's been tasked with coordinating and leading this across a number of different groups."


ON AIR: Simon Barnett and Phil Gifford Afternoons

12PM - 4PM