More than 10,000 people suffering from dementia went missing for various periods of time in 2013, the National Police Agency (NPA) said Thursday.
According to police figures, 10,322 people, reported by their families to be suffering from senile dementia or Alzheimer's disease, went missing, NTV reported. The number is 715 more than in 2012.
Of the total, the NPA said 388 were found dead, and 258 remained missing as of April 30, including some missing for more than a year. Most of the people who wandered off were located within hours; in other cases, they were found days later after having been taken into protective custody by police, the NPA said.
The issue has been getting a lot of coverage in the media recently. Many cases involve elderly couples who do not live with their children and have no one to look in on them. Often, the husband or wife who is suffering from dementia, wanders off while their spouse is having a nap, cleaning a room or out shopping.
Complicating the problem is that dementia sufferers frequently wander off without their wallets, cell phones with GPS tracking systems or any ID. Even if they are taken into protective custody, police have no way to identify them.
The NPA said Thursday it will create a registry of persons with dementia who are found wandering aimlessly, and who have no ID on them. The registry will include their photos so that relatives can search for their missing family members.© Japan Today