There is a wealth of information sites, and organisations that you may find helpful to contact.  We have identified ones that are most relevant for people at risk of going missing due to cognitive impairment and their families / whanau and carers.


If a person is missing and you have concerns for their welfare please call 111

Advice about reporting a person missing:
Advice relating to people with cognitive impairment (including dementia) who have a risk of going missing:

If a person with dementia goes missing – Advice from Alzheimer’s New Zealand
1. Try not to panic.
2. Make a thorough search of the house, surrounding area, and known routes. Notify your neighbours and ask if anyone has seen the missing person.
3. Contact your local ambulance and hospitals in case they have picked up the person and are caring for them.
4. If there is an immediate life risk to the person (i.e: extremes of weather / poor health) or if you are unable to find them in the immediate neighbourhood within 15-20 minutes, call 111 and ask for Police.
5. Important questions the Police may have include providing a good description of the person, information about past walking, or where the person may have gone, e.g. old neighbourhoods, former workplaces or favourite places. This information can be recorded in advance just in case it is needed on a Safer Walking Profile Form.
6. Providing a recent photo of the person will be useful for Police and other searchers.
7. Police will arrange in some areas for local taxis and public transport to keep a lookout for the person.
8. Leave someone at home to answer the phone while you search.
9. Often people who are still traffic safe follow the same route when out walking. If you know this route and they are longer than expected it may help lessen the search time as you will know the time they normally take and the routes they follow.

When the missing person is found:
– Don’t fuss. Reassure. Remain calm.
– Join them – walk with them and gradually move in the direction of home.
– If you are in a car, offer the person a lift.
– Don’t forget to notify all possible ‘searchers’ when the person has been found, including the police.


Medical Assistance
Connecting with your medical health professional is important for the person at risk’s general health. A general practitioner (GP) provides medical care in the community and will usually be your first point of contact. Access to some services requires a diagnosis of the cognitive impairment, your GP is the professional who can help you with this, or they may need to refer you to a specialist and supporting health and disability services. To find your local medical center/practice see the below website. The Healthpoint website also provides information about healthcare providers, referral expectations, services offered and common treatments.
See this link for more information.

Firstport provides information and links for advice,
support or equipment relating to disability in New Zealand. See this link for more information.

The Healthify He Puna Waiora
website contains health information and self-care resources.

See this link for more information.

The Ministry of Health website contains a huge amount of information about New Zealand’s health system. For older people who have dementia look at the health of older people section. This section includes what support services are available and how to access them and for those who have a disability see the health website’s disability services section.

International resource – Dementia
The International Consortium on Dementia and Wayfinding (ICDW) is an international organisation of people (researchers, workers in health/community organisations, police and people with dementia) with an interest in prevention of episodes of being missing. The goals of the ICDW include prevention and minimization of harm and stigma through timely and effective search processes in the event of being missing.  The website contains links to current research, and resources. Note – the Safer Walking Profile is closely based on the Herbert Protocol referred to in the ICDW Tools and Documents section.
See this link for more information.


Autism New Zealand

Autism New Zealand provides support, information and education on autism spectrum disorders (ASD) for individuals, their family/whānau, caregivers, and professionals who engage with them. See this link for more information.

Altogether Autism

Altogether Autism is a free, autism information and advisory service funded by the Ministry of Health. They supply information to autistic people, to parents, educators, support workers, GPs, police and any other professional working with adults or children on the autism spectrum. See this link for more information about wandering behaviour and autism

Explore Behavioural Services

Explore works with people who have challenging behaviours that impact on their own lives and others as well. Their behaviour support services are based on the Positive Behaviour Support model, which aims to improve a person’s quality of life and the quality of life of those around them. 
See this link for more information.

Ministry of Education – Behaviour Support Team

If a child or young person is having extreme and ongoing behaviour challenges, a Ministry of Education’s Behaviour Support team may be able to help, see this link for more information.

Ministry of Education – Early Intervention Services (EIS)
Provide support for children with additional needs from birth, until they transition in to school. Early intervention teams work with families and early childhood educators who ask for help when they are concerned about the learning and development of young children. This may concern a child’s developmental delay, disability, behaviour and/or communication difficulties.  A child does not need a diagnosis in order to access this support.  See this link for more information.


The Personal Advocacy and Safeguarding Adults Trust

The Personal Advocacy and Safeguarding Adults Trust provides a range of safeguarding services and supports. These include Supported Decision-Making support and training, short term advocacy and lifelong advocacy, and a coordinated inter-agency response for Adults at Risk.  The Trust offers parents and other interested persons an opportunity to invest in peace of mind for the future through membership and enrollment. The Trust also extends support to people not enrolled in the Trust.


People First New Zealand 


People First New Zealand is a self advocacy organisation that is led and directed by people with learning (intellectual) disability. People First is part of an international movement fighting for the rights and inclusion of all people with learning disability. People First also has a Disability Information and Advice Service.

Alzheimers New Zealand

Alzheimers NZ is a national organisation that represents people living with dementia, the website contains information on most aspects of living with dementia including Safer Walking. See this link for more information.

Local Alzheimers organisations provide support, education, information and related services in the community to people with dementia. To find your local Alzheimers organisation and other useful links see this link.

Dementia New Zealand

Dementia New Zealand is a national organisation, information about dementia is available on their website, while support for people with dementia is delivered through their service delivery Affiliates: Dementia Auckland, Dementia Waikato, Dementia Hawkes Bay, Dementia Lakes, Dementia Wellington and Dementia Canterbury. See this link for more information.

Age Concern New Zealand

Age Concern New Zealand is a national organisation dedicated to people over 65. Their website contains much information of interest to older people.  Support services including social activities are delivered through their local Age Concerns.  See this link for more information. To find your nearest age concern see this link.

Brain Injury New Zealand

Brain Injury NZ offers support and resources to those who are affected by a Brain Injury whether it be their own injury, or the injury of a loved one.  Brain Injury NZ understand the daily struggles and the constant readjustments required, and have the resources and links needed to begin enjoying life again.  They are to help and support you.  To find your local support office click here.


Seniorline is a national information service to help older people and their whānau navigate the health system.  Their website has a page on equipment and safety which can be seen here.