A new scheme has been launched in the county aimed at keeping people with memory problems, such as dementia, safe.
Neighbourhood Return, which is also being run in Oxfordshire, will use volunteers to help people who get lost return home safely.
Deborah Ginns, the project’s service manager, said: “We are appealing to everyone in Northamptonshire who has a mobile phone to sign up, no matter how little time they think they may have. We know that everyone is very busy, but the commitment is very small. You may never get a call, but if you do, and you are free, you might just help to save someone’s life. You will only be asked to search in a familiar local area, generally within a mile of your home, unless you are able to drive or cycle and are happy to go farther afield.”
Roger Stammers, who has been involved in setting up the scheme, said: “I wish this scheme had existed when my wife was wandering. She went missing on a number of occasions and I was so worried about where she had gone and if she was alright. Trying to find her on my own was really difficult and stressful.”
The scheme, funded by the National Lottery Silver Dreams fund, has been launched as a new report shows the number of people in the county with dementia is expected to rise significantly.
A dementia profile compiled by the East Midlands Public Health Observatory reveals that the number of people predicted to have dementia in Northamptonshire in 2030 is 14,714, rising from 7,739 in 2012. Of those 5,871 are expected to be men over 65 and 8,843 women over 65.
The Alzheimer’s Society has also launched a scheme to help dementia sufferers.
Through information sessions, people who become Dementia Friends volunteers will be given the know-how to help sufferers feel understood and included in their local communities.
For details on Neighbourhood Return visit www.ourturn.org.uk, or call 0116 2293118. Go to dementiafriends.org.uk to find out more about becoming a volunteer.