Purple Alert, the first app of its kind in the UK is designed to support the families and carers of people living with the illness – during an immediate missing person search.
It was developed by Alzheimer Scotland, in partnership with Police Scotland and partners from across the public sector.
To help increase the Purple Alert online community further, the national dementia charity is urging Scots to download the free app today on World Alzheimer’s Day.
The app supports a Police Scotland’s National Persons Unit search, by sharing key information about the missing person at the point of crisis and alerts all users of an active local search, adding to more eyes and ears on the ground helping with the search.
Since going live in 2017, the app has assisted with 13 missing person searches resulting in all being found safe and well within four hours.
Joyce Gray, deputy director of Development for Alzheimer Scotland said: “As people age in a digital world we must be ready to provide solutions that enter seamlessly into their existing lives.
“From the outset our aim was to create a solution for when someone with dementia fails to return home or becomes missing.
“It’s a really distressing time for families, so having vital information to hand relieves some of that pressure and helps focus searches on places that are meaningful to the individual concerned.
“We have been blown away by the reaction to the app from families and communities who have downloaded the app or came onboard to help us share information about the app since going live.”
Purple Alert is a free-to-download app for iOS and Android smartphones enabling information to be shared at the touch of a button to empower communities to raise an alert and share information of a missing person.
Lisa Moodie, who turned to the Purple Alert app to help support her father’s missing person search, said: “When my dad went missing we alerted the police first, then triggered a Purple Alert soon after.
“I still am amazed by the volume of calls and messages from local people, using the app, who claimed to have spotted dad.
“Thankfully dad was found safe by a family member but knowing so many people were looking out for dad was so comforting. I can’t encourage others strongly enough to download and register with the Purple Alert app if you know someone who is living with dementia, or not.
“It’s so simple to do and doesn’t take long at all.
“It is about being at the right place, at the right time, to be able to help a vulnerable person get back home safely.”
To find out more about Purple Alert or to download the app, visit purplealert.org.uk.
Dementia is the biggest health and social care challenge faced by an increasingly ageing society today.
It is now estimated that 20,000 people will be diagnosed with the condition every year by 2020.