Police help lost Alzheimer’s patients get home with fingerprint system

March 20, 2012, Tuesday/ 15:59:00

The İstanbul Police Department is attempting to end the nightmare of losing a loved one with a mental disability or Alzheimer's disease with a new fingerprint identity system.

The police have begun taking the fingerprints of people with Alzheimer's disease or a mental disability so that they will be able to determine their identity, by matching new and old fingerprint records, and notify their relatives should they get lost at a later time.

To apply for the “fingerprint swipe system,” one can visit the Community Policing or Crime Scene Investigation Identity Protection offices nearest to the mentally disabled individual's home.

Federation of the Mentally Handicapped Chairman Hamdi Atay said he considers this system a positive development in terms of notifying relatives of such an incident as soon as possible.

Fatma Çokal lost her husband Feridun Çokal, who suffers from Alzheimer's, on Feb. 17 while they were in Eyüp. She walked up and down dozens of streets but to no avail. Fatma Çokal and her family members found her husband 11 days later. It was not the first time he had become lost while trying to find their home.

“If we had known about this system before, we wouldn't have spent 11 days in fear,” she said.

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