The first International Consortium on Dementia and Wayfinding (ICDW) meetings were held in Calgary, Canada February 13-14, 2019 and Edinburgh, Scotland March 28-29, 2019. The purpose of these meetings were for members of the consortium to learn more about the work that is being done around the world on dementia and wayfinding, and to generate discussions among members as to the future directions of this new international network.
Both meetings were well received, with members having the opportunity to attend in person or through Zoom, and participants ranged from police, research, community organizations, health authorities, and persons with living well with dementia. The next meeting is scheduled to take place in Liverpool, UK July 6th in conjunction with the Fourth International Conference on Missing Children and Adults, with the intention of arranging the 2020 meeting in Asia/Australia.
Our beginning
The International Consortium on Dementia and Wayfinding (ICDW) started from a Twitter conversation January 2018 between PhD students Noelannah Neubauer from the University of Alberta and Katie Gambier-Ross from the University of Edinburgh. They had found similar findings in Canada and the UK where there were limited opportunities for international collaboration and areas for knowledge exchange among researchers, police, community organizations, and those with lived experience that focus on tacking the issues associated with persons with dementia at risk of getting lost and going missing. With the help of their supervisors, Drs. Lili Liu and Charlotte Clarke and funding through AGE-WELL NCE and the Edinburgh Centre for Research on the Experience of Dementia, ICDW was born September 2018 to address this significant gap.









Consortium Goal

Our goal is to enable people to live their life of choice through a risk enablement approach, including:

The prevention of episodes of being missing
The minimization of harm and stigma through timely and effective search processes in the event of being missing
Risk assessment following an incident of being missing to ensure proportionate consequences that optimize continuity of living a life of choice
How We Will Achieve Our Goal
We will work towards this by addressing intersectoral and multi-disciplinary research and education, in partnership with people living with dementia and care partners, that concerns:
The factors that are preventative and/or contextual triggers to an incident of being missing. This could include, for example, environmental design to improve wayfinding, location monitoring systems and the ethical aspects of their use
The factors that influence awareness and early action of an incident of being missing. This could include, for example, improving public awareness and mobalisation of police and search resources, and education on recovering an awareness of location when lost
The factors that influence search strategies and the agencies involved. This could include, for example, communicating best practice of search strategies
Ensuring proportionate short, medium and longer term consequences to an incident of being missing and that aim to minimize detriment to the person living with dementia e.g. restriction of freedoms. For example, models of follow-up following an incident of being missing to identify risk enablement strategies, including technology and social support options
Modifications to the communal built environment that may support wayfinding and/or enable more efficient and coordinated searches of persons with dementia
Sharing best practice globally through consortium meetings and website
We are focussed on communities and neighbourhoods so most strategies should be at this level. If we want people with dementia to be able to get around in the community we need an assessment of how friendly that community is to move around in. Knowing that missing events will happen and that there are no precedents to these events means that we need to expect and prepare across the levels of individuals, groups, communities etc.
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