medical IDs for Alzheimer's and dementia

Medical IDs for
Alzheimer’s & Dementia

The confidence to live with Alzheimer’s and dementia

Alzheimer’s is a progressive and incurable neurological disease that affects memory, thinking and behavior. According to our long-time partner, , there are currently more than six million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, and the number is rapidly growing.

A staggering statistic is that 6 out of 10 people with dementia will wander from safety. When someone with dementia wanders, they’re often unable to tell others where they live or how to contact their caregiver. If they aren’t located within a few hours, the odds of injury or death increase dramatically. That’s why MedicAlert partnered with Alzheimer’s Association to provide services that help improve outcomes in a wandering incident.

We are specialists in wandering safety. When a MedicAlert member is reported missing, MedicAlert creates and distributes a bulletin to local hospitals and law enforcement, and coordinates with the family to facilitate their loved one’s safe return home. When your loved one wanders and can’t communicate, MedicAlert can be their voice.

How MedicAlert protects those with Alzheimer’s and dementia

Living with dementia can be stressful. One thing you shouldn’t worry about is what could happen in an emergency. MedicAlert’s protection plans offer benefits that extend beyond the ID, providing safety and peace of mind for people living with dementia, their families and caregivers.

Wandering Support

If your loved one wanders, we’re here 24/7 to help ensure a safe return home.

Emergency Contact Notification

In an emergency, we connect families so that no one is alone in a crisis.

24/7 Emergency Response

Our team provides first responders the information they need to provide fast, accurate care.

Digital Health Profile

All your vital information, all in one place for you and your caregiver.

And find the protection plan that’s right for you.

What’s the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?

Dementia is a general term for conditions that have a group of symptoms including memory loss, cognitive decline, and impaired communication. Alzheimer’s is a specific type of dementia, and the most common type – accounting for 60-80% of cases. Alzheimer’s affects memory, language and thought, and gets worse with time. Neither Alzheimer’s nor dementia are part of the normal aging process.

How does Alzheimer’s disease progress?

Alzheimer’s progression is classified into three states: early, moderate, and severe. People with Alzheimer’s typically experience symptoms in their mid-60’s, but early-onset cases can begin as early as the 30’s. Early Alzheimer’s symptoms can include:

  • Memory loss
  • Losing or misplacing things
  • Difficulty thinking or understanding
  • Wandering or getting lost
  • Mood and personality changes
  • Repeating questions

As Alzheimer’s progresses, these symptoms worsen and increasingly interfere with daily life, ultimately making it difficult for people with the condition to carry on conversations or respond to their environment.

For someone who is at risk of wandering, MedicAlert is a real lifeline for them and their families.

Monica Moreno, Senior Director of Care and Support, Alzheimer’s Association

What causes Alzheimer’s?

The cause of Alzheimer’s is not fully understood, but scientists believe that it develops from a combination of genetics, lifestyle, and environment.

Alzheimer’s causes brain cells to die and breaks down connections between brain cells. The telltale sign of Alzheimer’s is abnormal protein deposits in the brain called plaques and tangles. However, these can only be seen posthumously in an autopsy of the brain. Still, specialists can diagnose Alzheimer’s with great accuracy by assessing other symptoms.

Increasing age is the largest Alzheimer’s risk factor. Most individuals living with the disease are over age 60, although there are a growing number of people who experience early onset Alzheimer’s.

What to engrave on your MedicAlert ID for Alzheimer’s or dementia:

  • Alzheimer’s, dementia, or memory impaired
  • Name of person wearing ID
  • Who to contact if wandering
  • Any other significant medical conditions or medications
Sample engraving. Consult our team if you need help engraving your ID.

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is a labor of love. It can also be a source of stress when you don’t know what to expect from day to day. One worry that is ever present for many Alzheimer’s caregivers is the fear that their loved one will wander.

Although no two individuals with Alzheimer’s face the same challenges, 6 in 10 people with dementia will wander from safety at some point. They may wander for many reasons, such as stress, agitation, the desire to look for something, or simply to take a walk or find a bathroom.

While wandering can be safe in a controlled setting, it puts those with Alzheimer’s at risk of becoming lost, confused, or even physically injured by harsh weather, dangerous terrain, or traffic. When they do reach a safe location, those who wander may be unable to communicate their name or

To lessen the risk of unsafe wandering, caregivers can take preventative measures such as putting in deadbolt locks that are out of the line of sight, installing warning bells, or removing access to car keys. It’s also important to identify the time of day when your loved one is most likely to wander. For many with Alzheimer’s, it’s around dusk or during the “sundowning” period.

Most importantly – make sure your loved one is wearing a MedicAlert medical ID for Alzheimer’s and has an active protection plan so that wandering support services can be activated if necessary. Every year, MedicAlert fields thousands of wandering calls and works with law enforcement and families to help speed a safe return home.

MedicAlert Foundation and Alzheimer’s Association are long term collaborators in addressing the wandering crisis.

Support and resources for Alzheimer’s caregivers

Navigating the challenge of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be overwhelming. At times, caregivers may feel as though they need support, but aren’t sure where to start. The Alzheimer’s Association, our dedicated partner, understands these concerns and offers support and a variety of resources to guide the caregivers of individuals living with Alzheimer’s. MedicAlert is proud to  to help protect those living with dementia, and provide peace of mind for their families.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s is available for round-the-clock clinical, emotional, and financial support from master-level clinicians. The helpline offers complete confidentiality, bilingual staff members, and translation services in more than 200 languages.

The Alzheimer’s Association also has a  that offers resources about Alzheimer’s caregiving, such as:

  • – an online social networking community for anyone impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. provides a safe place for people to connect with others facing the disease and develop mutual support systems 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • – this tool helps caregivers create a personalized action plan addressing concerns such as safety, working with health care providers, financial planning, and effectively handling dementia symptoms and behaviors.
  • – a comprehensive database that makes it easy to search, find, and access local Alzheimer’s resources, programs and services.
If you are looking for in-person support for yourself and your loved one, The Alzheimer’s Association also offers  . These regularly scheduled gatherings are led by peers or individuals with professional training, and coordinated through local chapters across the country. Groups are offered for caregivers, family and friends, and those in the early stage of Alzheimer’s.
DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The information in this article is presented for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.