County offers online registry for at-risk dementia patients

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SAN DIEGO  -- San Diego County officials are stepping it up when it comes to locating lost or wandering people with mental disabilities like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The sheriff’s “Take Me Home” program is a free and confidential service that can help deputies and other law enforcement locate an at-risk missing person. The program has been around for several years but is now online  for the first time.

“Its just a big relief for me,” said Barbara Christensen, whose husband, Daniel Baker, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last year. “For us, the hardest part was taking in the stress of this diagnosis and not having any help.”

“I’ve had what I call fuzzy brain for quiet a while,” said Daniel Baker.

Baker is 81 years old and is still in the early stages of dementia. He does not have an issue with wandering off but does misplace things like keys and phones.

As a precaution, Christensen signed her husband up for the "Take Me Home" program over the weekend. The database stores uploaded photos, health information, whether a person is verbal, and details on behavioral patterns, such as how someone responds when confronted.

At the beginning of a missing person search, information provided by the "Take Me Home" program can prove critical in locating a loved one. Deputies will know what the missing person looks like and what places they might have gone to. If a loved one can't communicate very well, deputies will know what to call them to get their attention while searching for them.

In the past, you'd have to print out an application and take it to your nearest sheriff's substation to register a loved one for the "Take Me Home" program. Now, all you have to do is go online to register and upload photos and other personal information to the sheriff's secure website.

For more information on the program and to register online,  visit