November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month: SafetyNet expert provides tips to help protect loved ones with Alzheimer’s from wandering

Currently, an estimated 5.3 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s and, according to Maria Shriver, 10 million women are affected by the disease—either as patients or caregivers.

Recognizing the enormity of this issue, SafetyNet is a service that enables public safety agencies to search for and rescue people with Alzheimer’s and other conditions who wander and become lost – a common, yet life-threatening issue.

SafetyNet Law Enforcement Director Scott Martin has these valuable tips to help keep Alzheimer’s patients safe and offer peace of mind to caregivers.

PROVIDE INFORMATION TO HELP WITH SEARCH AND RESCUE:

* Advise Local Responders First – Fill out a 9-1-1 Disability Indicator form and submit it to your local public safety agency. The information on the form alerts public safety that a person residing at that address may require special assistance during an emergency. Also, fill out a more detailed handout with this information that you can provide to first responders and search and rescue personnel in the event of a wandering incident.

* Inform Your Neighbors– Give your neighbors a similar handout with a picture of the person you are caring for, physical characteristics and emergency contact information. You may want to describe the person’s fears, habits and explain how to best communicate with and calm them. Ask them to contact you immediately if they see this person wandering outside their home.

* Tag Personal Items – List emergency contact information on tags in shoes and on clothing in case your loved one does wander and become lost.

SAFEGUARD THE LIVING SPACE – INSIDE AND OUT

* Hide Triggers that Might Encourage Departure – Remove items such as hats, coats, boots, scarves, keys and suitcases that may prompt your loved one to go outside.

* Hang a “Do Not Enter” Sign on the Door – This sign may help redirect and discourage a person with Alzheimer’s from opening the door.

* Install a Fence Around Your Property – Set latches on the outside of gates and make sure they are in an area where the person you are caring for can’t reach them.

* Use Simple Monitors, Remote Alerts and Locks – Attach a monitor to the door that detects when it opens; use a caregiver chime alert unit, which sounds when the door is open; combine these with locks on all doors including front, garage and basement.

REGISTER AND/OR ENROLL IN PROGRAMS THAT PROMOTE A SAFE RESCUE

* Register Your Loved One’s Information – With information registered in a secure database, such as the National Silver Alert Program, emergency responders are provided with critical information necessary in the event of a wandering incident or a medical emergency.

* Consider an Identification Bracelet – An ID bracelet, like the one offered through the Alzheimer’s Association’s MedicAlert + Safe Return program, helps the police or a Good Samaritan get a missing person back home safely or medical attention.

* Consider a Program that Offers a Personal Tracking Device – Programs that feature Radio Frequency (RF)-based personal tracking devices, such as SafetyNet, are an excellent source of peace of mind for caregivers and help protect and locate someone in the event they do wander and go missing. An RF device is ideal for people at risk of wandering because, unlike a GPS or cellular device, it has strong signals that can penetrate buildings, garages, water, dense foliage and steel structures.

via November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month: SafetyNet Expert Provides Tips… — WESTWOOD, Mass., Nov. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire/ –.

Florida man with Alzheimer’s wanders, rescued by deputies using SafetyNet System

Sheriff’s deputies in Hillsborough County, Florida, used SafetyNet to rescue a wandering man with Alzheimer’s disease in just 35 minutes this week.

The 75-year-old man’s wife called 911 when she realized her husband had gone missing during a walk and informed a dispatcher that her husband was enrolled in the SafetyNet service.

SafetyNet enables public safety agencies to more quickly find and rescue individuals with cognitive conditions who are prone to wandering and becoming lost. Clients wear bracelets that emit Radio Frequency signals that can be tracked by local public safety officials.

During Monday’s rescue, ground and air units picked up a signal from the man’s SafetyNet bracelet. He was found  unharmed walking several blocks from home.

The SafetyNet service, which has been available to Hillsborough County resident since September 2009, provides peace of mind to caregivers of people at risk of wandering by using the most effective technology available today for public safety agencies.

Eve Samples: A house torn apart by autism, a house of worship united by it » TCPalm.com

This Eve Samples column tells the story of a Florida pastor and his family, including a son with severe autism. Paul and Cecelia Thompson started The Hope Center for Autism in 2002. It now includes a public charter school for autistic students.

Books line almost every square inch of Pastor Paul Thompson’s office, but one waist-high shelf stands out from the others. It is packed with volumes examining the way the church addresses people with disabilities. This is the subject Thompson has been researching for his doctoral dissertation. He has been living his research, too. Thompson, the pastor at First Baptist Jensen Beach, and his wife, Cecilia, are the parents of four children — including 12-year-old Mark, who has a severe form of autism. via Eve Samples: A house torn apart by autism, a house of worship united by it » TCPalm.com.

Flamingos raise money for autism and Alzheimer’s wandering program in Massachusetts

Flamingos will soon be flocking at locations around town as the Plymouth Networking Group and Sunrise Rotary Club of Plymouth team up to raise money to assist families who cannot afford to participate in a new search and rescue program for those at risk of wandering.

Nothing’s more frightening than the thought of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, autism or other condition wandering away, according to local nurse Connie Hinds, a member of both the networking and Rotary clubs.

The groups plan to flock a few select locations to help increase public awareness of the new SafetyNet tracking program soon to be offered locally. Hinds said both groups share an interest in protecting local seniors. They suspect that bright pink flamingos on laws will help bring attention to the search and rescue program.

“We want to increase public awareness of the program and have fun, too,” she said. “Flamingos can’t help but get a lot of attention.”

SafetyNet outfits seniors with a personal locator unit worn on the wrist or ankle. If a loved one goes missing, Hinds said, local law enforcement and public safety agencies trained and certified on search and rescue procedures will use SafetyNet search and rescue receivers to track the radio frequency from the locator.

via Flamingos for fun and funds – Plymouth, MA – Wicked Local Plymouth.

Variety Philadelphia’s Disability Awareness Night at Philadelphia’s Please Touch Museum Sponsored SafetyNet

Variety’s Night at Please Touch Museum is now open to children with ALL types of disabilities. The Please Touch Museum is opening its doors to Variety’s children and their families! It will be a night of hands-on and sensory-filled excitement as families explore the museum’s wonderful exhibits! A Resource Fair will also take place at the event with exhibitors from many organizations from all over the Delaware Valley including the event’s Presenting Sponsor SafetyNet!

The event Saturday, August 21 is from 6PM-9PM. All ages are welcome.

Follow the link for parking and registration information.

via Variety Philadelphia

Autism Back-to-School: Autism at college

Some colleges have set up programs to assist autistic students.

Here are three universities that have set up three campus programs to assist students with autism:

At the University of Arizona, students with autism can register with The SALT Center, or The Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques Center. There, they receive monitoring and help with everything from planning and assistive technology to coursework.

Farleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey has a support program for students with Asperger’s syndrome.

The University of Alabama also offers a college transition program for autistic students.

via SALT Center.

SafetyNet available in Marshfield, Mass., to find people with autism, Alzheimer’s who wander

Marshfield —With training having been completed June 22, the Marshfield Police Department has officially added Safety Net to its public safety arsenal.

The program, which has been implemented by police and fire departments nationwide, will provide Marshfield officials the tools they need to swiftly track down and rescue those who have wandered from their caregivers.

“People who want to sign up can go online with Safety Net or come here,” said veteran Marshfield police officer Ralph Poland, who on a recent afternoon behind the police station learned first-hand — along with several other officers and firefighters — how to use the advanced tracking equipment.

Poland, who is helping to implement the program, said police and fire officials know that it only takes a moment for a resident with Alzheimer’s disease, autism or any other condition that may predispose them to do so to wander off or disappear. In North America alone, according to Safety Net figures, more than 5.8 million people have Alzheimer’s disease, and the majority may have a tendency to wander.

via Police, fire officers complete SafetyNet training – Marshfield, MA – Marshfield Mariner.

Autistic teenager finds voice through social media

The Internet and social media have raised awareness of autism and helped build strong autism communities worldwide.

Here’s a story about an autistic Canadian teenager who is not verbal but uses social media to communicate with thousands of people. Check out Carly’s Twitter feed,  her Facebook page (which she updates frequently!), and her Carly’s Voice blog.

Carly Fleischmann — a young woman whose autism left her mute — has found her voice through the use of the Internet.

Fleischmann is able to type her thoughts into a computer, and now communicates with thousands of people through her Twitter and Facebook pages. She has found a way to use the social networking phenomenon, along with e-mail, to communicate with people all over the world — many of whom are curious about autism or have a friend or family member with the disorder. Carly says she does what she can to teach others about autism and what it is like for her — a message that she says comes “straight from the horse’s mouth.”

via Autistic Teenager Finds Voice Through Social Networking | The Autism News.

Unified, Utah, offers monitors for those with cognitive conditions at risk of wandering

The Unified Police Department is offering search monitors to people with cognitive conditions linked to wandering, such as Alzheimer’s, autism, Down syndrome and dementia.

The SafetyNet monitor emits a radio signal from a device worn on the ankle or wrist, police wrote in a news statement Monday. If the wearer is reported missing, officers can use the signal to find the person.

There is a $99 enrollment fee and a monthly fee of $30.

For more information, call 877-434-6384.

via Monitors offered for those with cognitive conditions – Salt Lake Tribune.

Lower Merion, PA Police Captain Explains Why SafetyNet Will Benefit His Force and Community

The Lower Merion, PA Police Department is working in conjunction with the Main Line Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Main Line Program to implement SafetyNet, a new service that helps public safety agencies search for and rescue people at risk of wandering, including children with autism. The service will be available for caregivers and their loved ones living in Lower Merion Township and Narberth beginning in June 2010.

Captain John Dougherty of the Lower Merion Police Department discusses the value of SafetyNet and how it will help the Main Line community, as well as how it will benefit public safety agencies in their search and rescue operations

Captain John Dougherty of the Lower Merion Police Department gives examples of how SafetyNet will benefit his force in their search and rescue operations