The Center for Missing Elderly Persons established by the Federation for the Welfare of the Elderly (FWWE) has helped 640 lost elderly and mentally incapacitated people find their way back home since its inception five years ago.
Wu Yu-chin (吳玉琴), secretary-general of the FWWE, said the center's next goal was to make sure at-risk elders never become missing persons in the first place.
"Our Care Bracelet Program has been very successful," Wu said at an event held yesterday to celebrate the center's record.
Each care bracelet is labeled with the telephone number of the Center for Missing Elderly Persons and each individual is assigned a serial number, she said.
"We have a success rate of only around 33 percent when it comes to returning an elderly person with no means of identification to their home," Wu said. "When the family is actively looking for the missing elder, we do a lot better, with a recovery rate of around 70 percent over the past five years."
"Of the 5,622 elderly persons fitted with Care Bracelets, however, we've had a recovery rate of 100 percent," she said.
There have been 1,268 instances of recovered elderly persons thanks to the Care Bracelets.
A senior citizen surnamed Yang talked about his 71-year-old wife, who suffers from dementia and sometimes wanders away from home.
"I get so worried every time she goes missing," he said, "although I know she doesn't do it deliberately."
Just four days after being fitted with a Care Bracelet, his wife wandered away from home, but was recovered three days later after ending up in the hospital.
Chang Hsun-teh (張順德), a Tainan police officer, won kudos from the center for his prolific recovery rate for missing persons.
His techniques have been so effective that he now trains fellow officers and has written a manual detailing his procedures.