Walking about

4. If the person disappears: tips for carers

  • Try not to panic.
  • If you are unable to find the person, tell the local police. Keep a recent photograph to help the police identify them. Think of places that the person likes or used to visit a lot - they may have gone there.
  • There may be local schemes in your area, such as the Herbert Protocol, that can help. Missing People (see ‘Other useful organisations’ below) also offer practical and emotional support, including publicity, if needed.
  • When the person returns, try not to tell them off, criticise them or show them that you are worried. If they were lost, they may be feeling anxious themselves. Reassure them, and quickly get them back into a familiar routine.
  • Once the situation is resolved, try to relax. Phone a family member or friend if you need to talk about it.
  • Remember that this type of behaviour may simply be a phase. Taking the time to understand what the person's needs are can often help to resolve the problem.