New bracelet could be a lifesaver for Alzheimer's patients - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

New bracelet could be a lifesaver for Alzheimer's patients

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

Many of us may have arelative or friend with Alzheimer's. The Alzheimer's Alliance of Smith Countyoffers support to families of those who suffer with the disease, and one of thebest ways they help is with Project Lifesaver. It's a way to help findAlzheimer's victims that may wander with a radio transmitting bracelet.

We attended a fieldtraining course for area law enforcement. 

Of the 4,500 people withAlzheimer's in Smith County, 70-80 percent will develop the tendency to wander.They may get lost, end up injured or head for their old job, maybe on foot.

Nora Gravois with theAlzheimer's Alliance says Project Lifesaver has really been living up to itsname.

"Once it's on, it can't beremoved unless you have scissors or a sharp object. We talk with family membersand the person with memory loss to try to be really creative so it doesn't feellike an irritant or a nuisance, but a piece of jewelry," Nora said. Sometimes they make itinto a belt buckle. The batteries have to be changed every month.

Once in place, it transmitsfor a mile.

If we've got somebodythat's been gone for a little while that has had time to travel, we can hookthe antenna up to the car, hook it up to the receiver and drive around. We geta beep when we get close. Then you use these and you can pinpoint the exactlocation of the people using that one," Said Lt. Gary Middleton of the SmithCounty Sheriff's Department.

Since using the devices inSmith County, every wanderer has been located without injury. Recently theycouldn't locate a man until the equipment arrived at the scene and found him inan azalea bush.

"Because of his state ofmind he wasn't able to say anything, he couldn't call out for help. But wefound him and luckily and thank the Lord he was fine," Middleton said.

The equipment is fast andeffective and the training has spread to nearby counties. Everyone involvedagrees that many more people suffering from any kind of dementia need atransmitter.

The Alzheimer's Allianceof Smith County says the devices cost around $300, plus the monthly battery feeof $10. They are offering help to those who need it. Find more information here: info@alzalliance.org

 Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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