York Regional Police cruiser

Some GTA police forces using Project Lifesaver to track wandering dementia patients

It’s estimated that York Region will see a nearly 280 per cent increase in its population of elderly people by 2036.

According to the York Regional Police department, they currently average 140 missing person calls a month and approximately 10 per cent involve elderly people.

Altogether in the GTA, many resources go towards locating missing elderly people.

York Region is one of the few municipal police force in Ontario to currently offer Project Lifesaver.

Police forces in Niagara, Guelph, Peel Region and some OPP detachments are also affiliated with Project Lifesaver.

In York Region, it currently has a 100 per cent success rate. In 2014, the program has 46 clients registered.

According to Sgt. Christopher Plante, supervisor for Project Lifesaver in York Region, participants are usually found, if they get lost, within the first 30 minutes of the initial call to police.

While it is a police program, directly run by YRP, there is a fee. After being approved for the program, Project Lifesaver costs $300 to register and an additional $20 a month to maintain.

More cases of wandering Alzheimer’s patients are appearing in the news. And experts are predicting the number of people in Ontario with Alzheimer’s to rise dramatically soon. Now a police department in the GTA is offering a new program to keep these people safer. Observer TV News’ Jennifer Lee reports.