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/ –.