The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) awarded a grant funding to the Patrick County Sheriff’s Office, in Stuart, to expand its Project Lifesaver program, which provides safety technology to Patrick County families caring for loved ones with dementia-related illness who are prone to wandering.
Wandering is a common and potentially dangerous behavior among individuals with a dementia-related illness, as well as cognitive disorders such as autism. Someone with a dementia-related illness or cognitive condition who wanders can quickly become disoriented, unable to return to safety or not know how, or who, to call for help.
The Patrick County Sheriff’s Office’s Project Lifesaver program allows caregivers to voluntarily register their relative with dementia or autism to wear a small wrist or ankle transmitter that emits an individualized tracking signal. If that person goes missing, the caregiver notifies the Patrick County Sheriff’s Office, who then send officers to the wanderer’s location. Project Lifesaver technology reduces the average search and rescue time from hours, or even days, to minutes.
“The Patrick County Sheriff’s Office’s Project Lifesaver program is a valuable public safety tool for families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related illnesses,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. “Every family caregiver’s number one priority is keeping their loved one safe. We’re pleased to provide the Patrick County Sheriff’s Office with additional resources to help protect individuals living with dementia.”
“The Project Lifesaver Program saves lives, and this grant will allow us to continue to protect those who are unable to protect themselves,” Patrick County Sheriff Dan Smith said.
The funding will be used to purchase new upgraded transmitter kits, bands, and batteries, as well as train more officers on the program. The Sheriff’s Office estimates the $6,000 grant will enable them to serve an additional 20 families at no cost.
Families can voluntarily enroll in the Patrick County Sheriff’s Office’s Project Lifesaver program by calling (276) 694-3161. Those with questions about caring for a loved one with a dementia-related illness or accessing support services can call the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s Helpline at 866-232-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.
AFA is able to provide vital services, like this grant, as a result of the generosity of individual contributions, sponsorships and fundraising activities. To help support these initiatives or learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and resources available to help families affected by it, visit www.alzfdn.org.