From Wood County Crimestoppers
Wood County Crime Stoppers Safety Tip
Keeping Seniors Safe
There are currently almost 6 million people in the U.S. diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. More than half of those diagnosed will wander at some point. At this time, 23 states (including Texas) have missing persons recovery programs that are formally called “Silver Alert”. A Silver Alert is a public notification system in the United States to broadcast information about missing persons – especially seniors with Alzheimer's Disease, dementia, or other mental disabilities – in order to aid in their return. Family members of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients are encouraged to keep accurate information close at hand in the event it must be provided to law enforcement if the patient wanders away from home. Information such as height, weight, hair and eye color are helpful – but a current photograph is crucial. Wood County Crime Stoppers and Sheriff Jim Brown recommend keeping a current photograph of the patient in an electronic format that can be quickly emailed or sent by text to local law enforcement agencies. Every moment counts when a loved one is missing and precious minutes spent attempting to locate a current photo or convert a photo to a format suitable for mass distribution can mean the difference between a happy ending and a tragic ending. It is also helpful to record license plate numbers and photograph any vehicle accessible to the patient even if he/she has not driven in years. Patients have been known to drive away without warning whether or not they have shown signs of remembering how to drive or even what car keys are used for.
Also helpful, “Project Lifesaver” is a local program whose goal is to keep people who suffer from Alzheimer’s and other brain related disorders safe. Funded through the Pilot Clubs of Quitman, Mineola and Winnsboro as well as donations from individuals and groups, clients are outfitted with a radio transmitter which allows them to be tracked should they wander from home or get lost. The transmitter which is about the size of a quarter, is typically worn on the wrist like a watch, but can be sewn into clothing or tied to shoelaces depending on the needs of the client. The average rescue time is twenty minutes. For more information about Project Lifesaver or for an application, call Joyce Curry at 903-569-2729.