“The need for a registry specific to those with special needs was recognized by Hemet City Council member Shellie Milne, 46, whose son has Down syndrome. The registry has been in operation for about two years.”
If Alzheimer’s or dementia patients go missing, the work done by Linda Wilcox and her team may help track them down.
Wilcox, one of more than 80 specially trained volunteers assisting the Hemet Police Department, is the team leader for the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patient Registry program.
The purpose of the registry is to create a file of information about a person who may be likely to wander away from home or a facility. The detailed profile that is completed during registration, along with a photo of the person, is used by law enforcement agencies in the region to assist with locating and returning the person.
“We just need to get the word out there so more people are aware that we offer this great service to our Hemet residents,” said Wilcox, 73, who joined the volunteer program two years ago to get involved in her community.
“We also offer a Special Needs Registry, which is designed to assist the Police Department for those Hemet residents who have disabilities,” she said.
The need for a registry specific to those with special needs was recognized by Hemet City Council member Shellie Milne, 46, whose son has Down syndrome. The registry has been in operation for about two years.
She said people have a hard time recalling details when faced with an emergency and the registry gives them an opportunity to complete an application when they are clearheaded and can include personal data that will be a helpful tool for law enforcement.
Before she retired, Wilcox worked as a secretary for Allstate Insurance, U.S. Borax Research and Collins Aircraft.
“In my late 30s, I became a waitress – or, as they are called today, a food server,” she said. “I was looking for something part time that would fit in with being a wife and mother, and it was just perfect.”
Now she is using her years of experience working with the public and doing clerical work to make sure seniors are safe. She spends about six to eight hours a week at her volunteer post.
One piece of advice Wilcox offers to seniors: “At home or out and about, be aware of your surroundings.”
Registration for the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patient Registry is offered from 8 a.m. to noon weekdays at the Hemet Police Department’s West Station, 3663 W. Florida Ave., in Hemet.
If the person cannot be taken to the station, arrangements can be made for a volunteer to visit the patient to gather the information and take a photograph. To make an appointment, call 951-766-7463.
An application for the Special Needs Registry can be downloaded at cityofhemet.org by hovering over “Departments,” hovering over “Police,” hovering over “Community Services” and clicking on “Special Needs Registry.”