How to Find a Missing Person Who Is on Foot

If a person who has dementia walks away, you will want to find them quickly, especially if it is cold outside. Here are some steps to take when someone wanders off.


  1. Image titled Look all over your own house Step 1
    Look all over your own house. Look behind sheds in the yard, and any place the missing person might hide.
  2. Image titled Call your local emergency number Step 2
    Call the Emergency Services and tell them when you last saw the person and when you became aware they were gone. Ask them if they can request a tracking dog.
  3. Image titled Print flyers Step 3
    Create a flyer and start it printing. It doesn't have to be fancy, just the facts are enough. Hand it to people to save you time. Make the first 3 words in a large bold font (24 points is good) and the rest in 16 points.
    • Jane Smith, age 81, a woman who has senile dementia, disappeared from 10 16th street at about 1:45 p.m. Thursday, January 22nd.
    • She has grey hair and was wearing a red dress.
    • If you see her, call her daughter June Jones at 850-555-2222 or call 911.
    • Feel free to give her a ride back to 10 16th street if she is willing to go with you.
  4. Image titled Tell neighbors and ask them to look at their yard Step 4
    Tell neighbors and ask them to look in their yard. As you and your neighbors look, call the person's name in case they are near enough to hear you but not in line of sight.
  5. Image titled Ask your neighbors for help Step 5
    Ask a few neighbors to help if can and spread out these tasks among them.
  6. Image titled Call local hospitals and give informations Step 6
    Call local hospitals and give them the information on the flyer in case the person is taken there.
  7. Image titled Get pictures or flyers and distribute to helpers Step 7
    Get a picture of the missing person for distribution to helpers.
  8. Image titled Incase of absence of Police dogs, ask help from the veterenarian Step 8
    If the police don't have a tracking dog, call a veterinarian to get the names of bloodhound or other tracking dog owners in your area. Ask them to bring a dog to track the missing person.
  9. Image titled Notify mail delivery person and shopkeepers Step 9
    Notify your mail delivery person and local shopkeepers.
  10. Image titled Make someone always available for answering calls Step 10
    Make sure someone is available to answer the phone number you gave in your flyer.
  11. Image titled Call local radio and TV stations Step 11
    Call local radio and TV stations.
  12. Image titled When the person is found, let all the searchers know Step 12
    When the person is found, let all the searchers know.


  • Don't assume the police will do everything that's necessary to find the person. They have many priorities and your missing person might not be the biggest.
  • Get to know your neighbors. If you have a relationship with your neighbors, they'll be more likely to expend a lot of effort to help in a situation like this.
  • Remain calm, or if you can't, call someone who can remain calm and have them take charge of the effort.

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Categories: First Aid and Emergencies