Oriskany, N.Y. – The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America gave the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department a $6,000 grant. The grant will be used to expand the sheriff’s department’s project lifesaver program.
The Project Lifesaver Program is a tracking program used to locate people with Alzheimer’s, or other cognitive conditions that lead to wandering, who have gone missing.
“Wandering is a very common, but very dangerous behavior associated with dementia and other cognitive conditions as well such as autism,” said Chris Schneider, director of communications at the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.
“And when someone with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia wanders, it’s not simply just walking down the street taking a walk. They have a cognitive disorder, so they can very easily become lost and disoriented and not know how to get home, not know where they are or not even know who or how to call for help.”
To combat this concern, the Project Lifesaver Program uses wristbands with GPS tracking devices to more easily locate individuals who wander.
“So basically, that specific wristband that’s assigned to that client, we program their frequency into the tracking device,” explained Sheriff Robert Maciol of the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department.
“You start from where the person was last seen and you find a path of travel, and you try and detect the signal from the wristband.”
“It dramatically reduces search and rescue times from hours or even days down to a matter of minutes,” said Schneider. “In a situation like that every minute is critical and that’s why we’re pleased to support them and expand this important program.”
Sheriff Maciol says the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department has had a 100% recovery rate while using the Project Lifesaver Program. There are currently 32 Oneida County residents enrolled.
If you think you or a loved one may qualify for the program, contact the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department for an application.