In Japan, a crisis as loved ones with dementia go missing, some for years. Thousands of them wander off each year, alarming their families and stretching police resources.
In 2016, more than 15,000 persons with dementia were reported missing—a record number, and a 26 per cent increase from 2015, said the National Police Agency. And that figure looks certain to rise, with the number of dementia sufferers expected to grow from 4.6 million now to 7 million by 2025—the equivalent of one in five people aged 65 and above.
“If the government doesn’t come up with effective measures, this problem will become catastrophic,” lawyer Tetsuhiko Kobayashi, leader of a volunteer group that searches for lost dementia patients in Tokyo.