Department of Justice Wandering Project
Summary of Project
This project was an awarded grant for the Department of Justice. The purpose of this project is to prevent wandering among tribal elders living with Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia (ADRD), develop a robust wandering search and rescue support strategy in the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe (PLPT) reservation , and create a replication guide to benefit tribes nationwide. The International Association for Indigenous Aging (IA2) and Pyramid Lake Numaga Senior Center, led by Carla Eben, will work in partnership to develop person-centered and culturally appropriate wandering prevention activities and search and rescue support strategies. The project will serve tribal elders, especially those living with ADRD, their family caregivers, tribal police and first responders, and members of the PLPT.
The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe’s reservation is a rural, desert area located in Washoe, Lyon, and Storey Counties in Northern Nevada. The reservation consists of 475,00 acres and there are more than 2,900 enrolled members. There are an estimated 240 tribal elders that live on the rural reservation and more than 24 are living with ADRD. https://plpt.nsn.us/
IA2 Launches Elder Wandering Project
The International Association for Indigenous Aging (IA2) has recently initiated a tribally-focused project to quickly locate Native elders who may have wandered away from their homes due to dementia issues. Working with the Pyramid Lake Paiute tribe in western Nevada, IA2 will help create protocols to guide the tribal senior center, police, and emergency services departments if an elder is reported missing due to Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia issues.
In its second year, the project will feature a mock search involving the tribe’s Senior (Title VI) program, tribal elder volunteers, and both the tribal police and emergency services departments.
The project involves 1) creating personal files, including photos, for individual elders, 2) conducting a “mock search” demonstration to quickly ocate an elder who may have wandered due to dementia, and 3) implementing tribal protocols for both volunteer and professional First Responders.