Anne-Marie King has worked with Alzheimer Scotland since 2010 in a variety of roles including Practice Team Leader, Volunteer Coordinator and is now a Dementia Advisor for Helensburgh & Lomond in the Argyll & Bute area.
Laura Evans, Argyll & Bute Partnerships Officer with Police Scotland got in touch with Anne-Marie to ask if people living with dementia in Helensburgh would like to be involved in the development of a Dementia Safeguarding Tag (DST).
The Dementia Safeguarding Tag is designed to be carried by a person living with dementia on their housekeys, handbag, jacket, walking aid or anything else likely to be taken with them when they go outside. If the person becomes confused or disorientated, then anyone can offer them assistance by tapping their mobile telephone against the Dementia Safeguarding Tag to reveal their emergency contact name and telephone number. This can mean that there is no need for the Police to attend, which often adds to the person’s distress.
Anne-Marie comments on how useful the DST can be for people living with dementia:
“Through my experience of working with people who are living with dementia I could see this would be an excellent tool to offer to the families that we support and the difference it might have made in the past. I think back to one gentleman who was living with dementia and was admitted to hospital 100 miles from his home, he left the hospital at night without staff being aware, and set off walking home. After walking some distance through a very busy town it wasn’t long before a concern was raised, and the police were called. This was extremely distressing for the gentleman as he was confused as to why the police were detaining him, as he saw it, when he just wanted to get home to his family. Had he had a DST then a family member could have been contacted directly and provided him with reassurance he needed and quickly made arrangements for his safe return, without needing to involve the police.
In Helensburgh we held two focus groups where attendees enthusiastically gave feedback to help shape and develop the tag into what it is now. It was really encouraging when those who attended these groups said how delighted they were to be involved and how having a tag would provide reassurance and increase their confidence when they were out and about especially if they got into difficulty”.
Anne Marie was awarded the Partnership Award in 2022 for her contribution and support in the delivery of the Dementia Safeguarding Scheme (Police Scotland – Argyll & Bute and West Dunbartonshire Divisional Recognition Award). Anne-Marie comments on achieving this award:
“It was a huge surprise to be nominated, and to win, the Partnership Award 2022 (Police Scotland- Argyll & Bute and West Dunbartonshire Divisional Recognition Awards). It really was fantastic to be involved in this project especially as it provides us with another tool to offer families to help prevent someone with dementia going missing, which works so well alongside Alzheimer Scotland’s Purple Alert App, Carer Toolkit and the Herbert Protocol. It is very rewarding to know that the Dementia Safeguarding Tag is already making a difference to the lives of people who are living with dementia, helping to keep people safe whilst also promoting independence and maintaining confidence”.
Currently the scheme is being piloted in Argyll & Bute. If you are interested in the Dementia Safeguarding Tag then you can get in touch with Anne-Marie and also Gemma McKie who is located in the Oban area. You can find more information here about the Dementia Safeguarding Tag. It is anticipated that this tag will role out across Scotland and Dementia Advisors in other areas in Scotland will have access.