Alzheimer's Safety Device
It’s the size of a quarter, but a small transmitter may have a big impact. After three Alzheimer’s patients wandered away from their caregivers and died from exposure, members of an Ohio town knew they had to do something. As Lindsay Ferrier reports, they turned to a high-tech solution for some old-fashioned peace of mind.
(Locator: Coshocton County, Ohio)
Coshocton County Deputy: “Okay, we’re getting a better signal from that way.”
This newfangled gadget is getting a lot of attention in downtown Coshocton, Ohio.
Deputy: “We’re really close.”
And it should. It has saved more than a thousand lives nationwide. Deputies hope it’ll save even more locally. This antenna can lead them straight to anyone wearing a tiny corresponding transmitter.
Deputy: “There’s our subject.”
Captain Jon Mosier: “With a relatively small amount of training, officers can take the device and start looking for the person and quickly locate them.”
Soon, 12 Coshocton County Alzheimer’s patients will be wearing the wristband transmitters, thanks to local donors like Park United Methodist Church, where members felt a personal need to get involved.
Mary Hughes, Park United Methodist Church: “In 2001 my sister-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and had to go into a lockdown unit. It just kind of stuck to my mind and my heart that we needed to do something with our mission money.”
Captain Jon Mosier: “Contributions helped us to be able to assure people that regardless of whether they can actually afford it, the service is still going to be available to them.”
Called “Project Lifesaver”, this program is giving locals some peace of mind.
Gloria Trustdorf was first in line at the sheriff’s office to get her father a bracelet.
Gloria Trustdorf: “I’m doing this because he has a tendency to run when he gets outside and he was lost for six hours last summer.”
Captain Jon Mosier: “The sooner they can be found the more likely it is that they’re going to be found in good health; that’s a very critical thing. That’s what we’re striving for to get them back with no adverse effect.”
The radio transmitters can also be used with patients with other disorders like autism and Down Syndrome. Nationwide, more than 1,000 searches have been conducted using Project Lifesaver technology. Every one of those searches has ended successfully. To learn more about Project Lifesaver, check out www.projectlifesaver.org.
And for more details about how churches can support programs like this, see Church support helps deputies track dementia patients.