Attention caregivers for the elderly

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Moi, Feb 16, 2004.

  1. Moi

    Moi Active Member

    Sep 2, 2003
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    The ONLY GOOD place
    I have no idea where to put this so I'm putting it here. Once when I was on break from college I was at my parents house. At about 2 a.m. the door bell rang. Of course, being the silly young girl I was, I answered the door. This old man stood there babbling about a church. I tried to figure out what he wanted but couldn't. In my intolerant, youthful frustration I assumed that he was drunk and closed the door in his face. After I told my parents about it the next day, my stepfather said that he thought the guy probably had Alzheimer's and had wandered around looking for a place he remembered from long ago.

    There is not one moment of my life since that day that I haven't regretted my ignorance and inaction. Stories about missing relatives and Alzheimer's sufferers tear through me every time. To think that I could have helped someone's grandfather find his way home and didn't. All because I'd never heard of Alzheimer's.

    For any of you who deal with this reality day in and day out, perhaps this system can be of some help:

    DEAR ABBY: This is an update on Project Lifesaver, a new nonprofit police organization that locates wandering victims of Alzheimer's disease (news - web sites) and special-needs kids using electronic tracking. Your columns devoted to dementia prompted me to write, since our service allows seniors to remain at home longer and gives much-needed stress reduction to their caregivers.

    To date, Project Lifesaver has located 878 people in an average rescue time of 19 to 20 minutes. There have been no deaths or injuries, and everyone reported missing has been located. According to the National Alzheimer's Association, an average of 32,000 people wander away from homes and nursing homes each year.

    Those at risk of wandering wear a 1-ounce wrist transmitter that emits a radio tracking signal 24/7. When caregivers discover their loved one is missing, they call 911, and Project Lifesaver-trained police officers respond to locate the person quickly.

    The system works day or night, inside or outside. The price for the service through the police department ranges from free to $35 per month, depending on financial need. Project Lifesaver is currently in about 200 police departments.

    Caregivers interested in Project Lifesaver for their community should contact their local police or sheriff's department and ask them to contact me at the Chesapeake, Va., Sheriff's SAR Unit at (757) 546-5502. Thank you. -- CHIEF GENE SAUNDERS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PROJECT LIFESAVER

    DEAR CHIEF SAUNDERS: Be careful what you wish for. Project Lifesaver sounds like a terrific public service to me. I'm pleased to make my readers aware of it. Get ready for the onslaught!

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