A community minded app for people with dementia if they are missing

Purple Alert is a free mobile app which sends an alert to the community if someone with dementia is missing in their area.  

How does it work?

Download Purple Alert for Free
Create your profile. This will be private
Ask your friends and family to download the app

Carers only

Create a profile for the person living with dementia
If the person with dementia goes missing call 999
After you have alerted the police raise a Purple Alert

Download the all new Purple Alert Scotland app

On iOS

iOS Download Button




On Android

Android Download Button




Resources for families

Preventative, Emergency and Reflective toolkits

A Step-by-step guide for families designed to help before, during and after someone with dementia is missing.

The Herbert Protocol

We think the Herbert Protocol is as important as Purple Alert.  The Herbert Protocol is a form designed to make sure that if someone goes missing, the Police can get access to important information about that person as soon as possible.   We highly recommend you print this form and fill it in with as much information as possible now, before a moment of crisis.  Then keep it in a safe place and give it to the Police if the person you're caring for goes missing. 

Resources for the community

Good practice guide

Simple guidelines for the Purple Alert community of users. This toolkit explains what to do if someone is missing in your area. It's a short 'good practice' document to make sure you can help finding the missing person in a meaningful way. 

Spread the word

You can make your area safer for people with dementia by raising awareness about Purple Alert. You can share this page by using the social media buttons below, or simply tell a friend, a colleague or a neighbour to download the app. If you would like your organisation to endorse or sponsor Purple Alert, do get in touch and we'll be supporting you throughout. 

How it all started

In 2015 we looked at how we could harness the power of communities to make walking safer for people with dementia. After 32 months of designing, developing and testing we launched the app in 2017, which by then aligned with the newly published National Missing Persons Framework for Scotland. The app was an instant success and was being used throughout Scotland, but it also became a benchmark internationally, in the field of ‘missing’.  

In 2020 the app was completely redesigned and relaunched, taking into account the added challenges of Covid-19 and all that we learned in the first 2 years since launch.  

Although Purple Alert core functionality has been the same since day one, we have been working with our partners (Police Scotland, Scottish Government, Missing People, NHS, HSCP’s to name a few) to ensure all the existing services are aligned before, during and after someone with dementia is missing.  

Below you can find some of these resources and services. They have been developed together with our partners and the families affected by dementia, with the goal of making Scotland a safer place in regard to missing.  

What's next

We have some ambitious and innovative ideas to keep Purple Alert a pioneering service with people with dementia’s wellbeing at its core. Some of these ideas are at embryonic stage and require funding, some are being piloted and will be hopefully implemented nation-wide.  

Work in progress

Return Discussions

We ran a pilot project in collaboration with Edinburgh Police and the University of Edinburgh called Return Discussions. These are conversations carried out within 72 hours from someone returning home after a missing occurrence. The aim of these conversations is to comfort, advise and signpost families to further support. Edinburgh Police refers families to our Dementia Advisor who will follow up the missing episode, and provide the adequate support.  The University of Edinburgh analysed qualitative and quantitative data during a 6 months period.  You can read the 6 months evaluation report here

The pilot project ended in March 2023 and you can read the final evaluation report here. 

This project has been funded by the RS Macdonald Charitable Trust and the Kirkwood Memorial Fund. 


In 2022 we ran a small pilot in Argyll & Bute in partnership with Police Scotland. 
The pilot was called 'Dementia Safeguarding Tag' and provided families affected by dementia with a small yellow keyring using a technology called NFC (Near field Communication). If a person with dementia lost their way and had the keyring, anyone could tap their smartphone and get in touch with the lost person's next of kin. 
The pilot was so successful that we decided to scale it up nationally, renaming it SafeConnect. Read more about SafeConnect and the Dementia Safeguarding Scheme here. 

Purple Alert Technical Support

Please note that Purple Alert is not an Emergency Service. If someone is missing, please dial 999 immediately.  

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If you require further assistance, please contact us on [email protected]

We are a small team and we will try answer your queries within 7-10 working days.