Module 1: Pre-Missing Incident


In this module, we will provide an overview of dementia from both a western perspective as well as an Indigenous perspective, the risks of going missing and tips for communication when engaging with someone living with dementia.

Learning Objectives

  • To have a better understanding of dementia, its signs and symptoms, prevalence, associated risks and impact on family and care partners. 

  • To have a better understanding of dementia from an indigenous perspective, recognizing different perspectives on aging and dementia. 

  • To learn about the potential risks for persons living with dementia. 

  • To become familiar with the statistics related to persons living with dementia going missing. 

  • To explore strategies for prevention and how we can reduce the risk of going missing.  

  • To learn how to approach and manage dementia-friendly encounters, including what to do when someone is having a responsive behavior. 

  • To explore communication techniques that can be used in encountering a person living with dementia.  

Aging and Dementia

This video highlights the prevalence of Canadians living with dementia and the associated risks, such as injury and death. Common signs and symptoms of dementia are presented, including incidents when First Responders may need to intervene. Dementia-friendly interactions and resolutions can occur when First Responders recognize these signs and symptoms, as persons living with dementia may behave differently than expected. For example, an individual with cognitive impairment may have difficulty following instructions. First Responders can help create a safer environment for people living with dementia, through understanding and education.

Remote video URL

Downloadable Tip Sheet

Aging with Dementia in Indigenous Communities

This video provides a perspective of how dementia is understood in Indigenous communities, including the belief that it is a natural part of the circle of life. Contrary to the way that dementia is understood in Western culture, Indigenous communities do not have an all-encompassing term for dementia. Instead, ways to describe dementia may include being “forgetful” or having “something wrong with my head”. To facilitate a dementia-friendly interaction, it is essential to recognize that dementia may not be an accepted or recognized term for an individual, caregiver, knowledge keeper, or member of an Indigenous community. First Responders are encouraged to learn more about dementia and the communities they engage with to best serve the individuals and their cultures.    

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Wiiji-gikaandaman wawanendamwaapinewin Imaa ishikoniganing

Ojibwe captions are provided in this video on Aging with Dementia in Indigenous Communities.

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Mohawk captions are provided in this video on Aging with Dementia in Indigenous Communities.

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Dementia and Emergency Response: Engaging with a Person Living with Dementia

This video provides information on best practices when interacting with a person living with dementia. Some best practices include approaching the individual from the front, asking close-ended questions, and moving to a distraction-free environment.  When you are uncertain whether someone has dementia, it is recommended to err on the side of caution, making note of any responsive behaviours triggered by internal and/or external stimuli. Responsive behaviours may include pacing, getting lost, and making unexpected noises. First Responders play an essential role when engaging with persons living with dementia and their caregivers by identifying the cause of the behaviour and providing community resources to ensure the person’s safety and security.  

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First Responders' Techniques: Critical Steps to Take for a Dementia-Friendly Encounter

Every situation where a First Responder encounters a person living with dementia is unique. This video highlights the critical steps involved in facilitating a dementia-friendly encounter. A woman who is in her early 60s is walking around a neighbourhood in the wintertime without a jacket. Her dementia affects her perception of temperature. This is how the First Responders engage with her: they ensure that she is not in imminent danger, wait until she stops walking of her own accord, introduce themselves, and inquire as to whether she can identify herself and where she lives. First Responders provide education to caregivers regarding the importance of prevention strategies to avoid future missing incidents. 

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Interactive Quiz

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