In Japan, cities like Masudo are raising public awareness among residents and businesses, especially those that regularly come in contact with older adults. Cafes and dementia drop-in centers are the types of places where the Mimamoriai service team distributes stickers that can be attached to wallets, keychains and umbrellas—which help police and attentive citizens locate the families of people who have wandered from their homes.
Manami Y. is a local welfare official who often patrols Matsudo’s suburbs. She says, “If we see an older house that has the curtains drawn during the day or a big pile of newspapers in the mailbox, we go and check.”
She also knew exactly what to do when she spotted a woman pushing a bicycle who, despite the rain, did not have an umbrella. The woman told her she was on her way to her hometown—which was hundreds of miles away. The orange Mimamoriai sticker on her coat allowed Manami to call the woman’s daughter, and Manami was able to talk with the woman until her family arrived to escort her home.
Manami alone has helped 14 of the 180 dementia patients in Matsudo safely reunite with their families.
Approximately 60% of people with dementia will respond to the compulsion to ‘wander’. This includes leaving the places where they are supported and supervised, resulting in them being lost and confused. The Mimamoriai service in Japan helps communities work together to locate and return home people with dementia who might have become lost.
The belongings of the person with dementia can be labelled with a sticker that displays a telephone number and a unique identifier. If someone is found lost and wandering, any citizen can call the number on the sticker and help the person return to safety.
If a caregiver discovers their loved one is missing, they can send a request to the community with information to help identify the person via the Mimamoria app. This notification shows up on the smartphone of all the volunteers who have downloaded the app.
800,000 app downloads
689 app search requests initiated per year
208 sticker-based recoveries per year
Adopted by various Japanese local governments
Supported by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
The Mimamoriai service is unique to Japan but can easily extended to other countries. For those interested in adopting the program, please contact the Aging2.0 Tokyo Ambassador Yasuko Akutsu at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out the videos linked below for additional information about this initiative.