Featured Caregivers to Receive MedicAlert + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return Program Services to Protect Against Wandering-Related Dangers

San Mateo, CA, November 9, 2011 – More than 40 million people in the United States are providing unpaid care for an aging parent, spouse, or other relative — including 15 million who are caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease. This November — which President Obama has proclaimed National Family Caregivers Month and National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month — Caring.com and MedicAlert Foundation are partnering to raise awareness about the unique and shared experiences of Alzheimer’s caregivers, honor these unsung heroes, and provide knowledge about the condition to millions of family caregivers in need of support. Caring.com is the leading online destination for caregivers, and MedicAlert Foundation provides the world’s most dependable emergency identification and medical information network.

Throughout November, MedicAlert will sponsor the Caring.com 2011 Caregiver Honor Roll series. Focused on family caregivers participating in online support groupsincluded with Caring.com’s free Steps & Stagesâ„¢ resource for Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiving, the series will feature real caregivers and their personal stories.

“Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be such a difficult and lonely experience, and often a years-long journey that’s overwhelming and devastating,” says Andy Cohen, co-founder and CEO of Caring.com. “We’re joining with MedicAlert to honor the hard work of these caregivers, bring attention to the adversities they face, shine light on their means of coping, and provide valuable resources that can assist caregivers through their challenges and grief.”

Common Challenges, Trusted Solutions

One common challenge Alzheimer’s caregivers face is “wandering.” It’s estimated that more than 60 percent of individuals with Alzheimer’s will wander — walking, driving, or otherwise leaving their caregiver and safe environment — at some point during the course of the disease. This can result in the person getting lost and/or ending up in a dangerous or even deadly situation.

Recognizing caregivers’ needs in coping with wandering, MedicAlert offers the MedicAlert + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return program for individuals living with Alzheimer’s or related dementia and their caregivers. The MedicAlert + Safe Return program is a 24-hour nationwide emergency response service for people with Alzheimer’s disease who wander or have a medical emergency. The MedicAlert + Safe Return program provides 24-hour assistance, no matter where or when the person is reported missing. If an individual with Alzheimer’s or related dementia wanders and becomes lost, caregivers can call the emergency response line to report it. A community support network is activated, including local Alzheimer’s Association chapters and local law enforcement to help reunite the family member or caregiver with the person who wandered. If a citizen or first responder finds the member, they can call the toll-free number listed on the member’s MedicAlert ID. The MedicAlert + Safe Return team will notify the member’s listed contact, making sure the person is returned home.

The MedicAlert + Safe Return program also offers a caregiver enrollment option. In the event a caregiver has a medical emergency, their emergency medical information recordâ„¢ can be accessed and the first responders will be alerted that there is a person with Alzheimer’s that needs attention. As part of its work with Caring.com, MedicAlert is providing a free, one-year MedicAlert + Safe Return membership and free medical ID for the caregivers featured in the November 2011 Caregiver Honor Roll series and their loved ones with Alzheimer’s.

“Every day, there are individuals with Alzheimer’s who wander into dangerous situations or become lost, which causes panic among their families, and all too often results in serious injuries or death for the individuals,” said Andrew B. Wigglesworth, president & CEO of MedicAlert Foundation. “Families of individuals with Alzheimer’s face so many challenges; the MedicAlert + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return program is a very practical and effective way for caregivers to better protect their loved ones against wandering related dangers. We are proud to join with Caring.com to honor all caregivers for their hard work and to provide a service that helps alleviate one the of the major concerns caregivers face.”

About MedicAlert Foundation

Established in 1956, the nonprofit MedicAlert Foundation delivers the most dependable, the most responsive, the most intelligent, and the most trusted emergency identification and medical information network. MedicAlert ensures that emergency responders and hospital staff get your up-to-date medical information, the moment they need it, to make informed decisions about your treatment and care. With MedicAlert, you can be confident knowing that you are connected to the most dependable emergency support network ““ because every moment matters. Visit www.medicalert.org for more information.