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New Scottish App Helps Find Missing Dementia Sufferers

Dominique Adams


Purple Alert App

Purple Alert is the first free app to help carers in the UK raise the alarm if someone living with dementia goes missing.

Purple Alert helps the community to look out for people living with dementia, who go missing. The app allows carers to share the person’s profile if they lose their way and allows for eyes and ears on the ground to immediately help find them.

It raises the alert that someone is missing, facilitates reported sightings and provides updates on the incident. The more people who download the app, the more effective the network becomes and helps to ensure positive outcomes.

It was developed with the support of Alzheimer Scotland staff, Police Scotland, Social Work, Dementia Friends Scotland, Health and Social Care Partnerships telecare services and by people living with dementia and their carers.

How it Works

After downloading the app, the carer needs to input the person’s details into the profile, however, nobody will ever see this content until an alert is issued. The information only remains live on the app until the person is found, then the status will be changed to found and the information removed.

If the carer cannot find the person, they only need to tap the app to let the community know someone is missing. The previously stored information will then be sent out to people within a 30-mile radius of the alert. If other people in the community nearby sees the person they can call the the carer directly.

The Purple Alert Community

The Purple Alert community is made up of other people in a similar condition of living with dementia or caring for someone who has the disease. The app means that people living with dementia can continue to enjoy a degree of independence and leave their home without fear of being lost. The app is free to download and available on both iOS and Android smartphones.

App Fully Integrated in Existing Services

Tommy Petillo, Dementia Circle, said: “Taiga Apps’ receptive attitude was instrumental in the development of Purple Alert. They worked closely with both our service development team and the community of testers to develop the app. Thanks to this, the app is designed by the community, for the community, and it’s fully integrated in Scotland’s existing services.”

Joyce Gracy, Deputy Director of Development at Alzheimer Scotland said: “We are delighted at the launch of the app, we just want to find people who have gone missing and this just adds to the suite of resources that are available in Scotland.”

Sergeant David Campbell, Missing Persons Co-Ordinator  of the Highlands and Islands Division said: “People go missing for a variety of reasons and unfortunately people who have dementia becoming lost or disorientated is something that we can be faced with. This not only puts the missing person at risk but it also causes considerable distress for their loved ones.”

“Speed is of the essence in any missing person enquiry – the longer someone is missing, particularly if they are vulnerable, then the greater the risk to them. New technologies such as the Purple Alert app can be an invaluable aid as they allow information to be shared quickly in the local area.”

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Dominique Adams

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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