This World Alzheimer’s Day will see a nationwide launch of the Herbert Protocol, an information gathering tool that assists police to find a person living with dementia who has been reported missing, as quickly as possible. The Herbert Protocol encourages carers and families to record vital information on a form in advance, before a moment of crisis. Having the Herbert Protocol to hand when a loved one is missing can speed up the search and mean the family or carers are not struggling to recall information when they are stressed.

Along with asking for many of the physical characteristics that you would expect such as height and hair colour, the form also asks questions that really get to know the person. What regular routines do they follow? Is there a place of interest or significance to them they might have gone to? If the person is found in distress, what or who can they talk about to comfort them? Once complete, the form can be kept in a safe space and handed over to police if needed.

Working alongside the Hebert Protocol, is Alzheimer Scotland’s Purple Alert app. Developed by in partnership with Police Scotland and partners from across the public sector, Purple Alert shares key information about the missing with other users in the community, aiding to more eyes and ears on the ground helping with the search. When a carer sends an alert, all app users in a 30-mile radius get a notification that contains an up-to-date photo of the missing person, information about them and places they enjoy going to.

Lisa Moodie, who turned to the Purple Alert app to help support her father’s missing person search, said: “When my dad went missing, we alerted the Police first, then triggered a Purple Alert soon after. I still am amazed by the volume of calls and messages from local people, using the app, who claimed to have spotted dad. Thankfully dad was found safe by a family member but knowing so many people were looking out for dad was so comforting”.

You can make your area safer for people with dementia by downloading the app. Its quick, easy, and free to download. For more information, visit the Alzheimer Scotland website.