Mattie’s Call Act

Mattie’s Call is an alert system in Georgia for missing ‘disabled adults’.

Georgia law defines ‘disabled adults’ as individuals who are developmentally impaired or suffer from dementia or some other cognitive impairment. September 1, 2006, Mattie’s Call became a Statewide Alert. This alert system, similar to Levi’s Call and Amber Alert, works through law enforcement and public broadcasting to alert the public as soon as possible when there is someone missing with Alzheimer’s or dementia so they can be on the lookout for this missing person. When a disabled adult is confirmed missing, the local law enforcement agency will work with the GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) and GAB (Georgia Association of Broadcasters) to get the alert out to all the Broadcasters across the state. “This is a big deal. Georgia was only the second state in the country to implement this type of alert.” says Jenny House, Programs and Services Director with the Coastal GA Regional Office of the Alzheimer’s Association.

If the missing person is not located within 24 hours, there’s a 46% chance they may be found seriously injured or even dead. “Each person with dementia is considered an Endangered Missing person, which means: stop what you are doing and find this person, they are in jeopardy! There is no 24 hour waiting period for them. It is critical to locate them within the first 24 hours.” says House. Wandering is the most common behavior of people with dementia and the most life threatening. Wandering can happen on foot, car or public transportation.

There is another aspect to this law. The law states that personal care homes (PCH) must call law enforcement within 30 minutes of discovering the elopement of a ‘disabled adult’ from the home. This coincides with the PCH regulations from the Office of Regulatory Services which requires that the report of a missing ‘disabled’ person be made to police within 30 minutes and that the incident in general is reported to ORS.

This Alert system was named after Mattie Moore who wandered out of her home the afternoon of April 21, 2004 and was found deceased December 24, 2004 only 500 yards from her Atlanta home. She suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

The Alzheimer’s Association wants to encourage caregivers to enroll their loved ones with dementia into their Safe Return/Medic Alert Program. It is an identification program designed for persons with Alzheimer’s or dementia who may wander and become lost. There is scholarship money available for this program.

For more information on Mattie’s Call or Safe Return, please feel free to contact the Alzheimer’s Association at 1-800-272- 3900.

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