Coventry, R.I., using SafetyNet to find missing people

Coventry is the latest community to begin using SafetyNet technology to track down missing people.

On Tuesday, the Coventry Fire Department demonstrated the new SafetyNet system.

Designed for people with Alzhheimer’s Disease, autism, or other cognitive disorders, the SafetyNet system comes with a transmitter that the patient wears on their wrist. If the person goes missing, the fire department can usually locate them within a matter of minutes.

via Coventry using SafetyNet technology to find missing people | WPRI.com.

Boston researchers study impact of autism

Researchers at Harvard University and Mass General Hospital are conducting a study to better understand the health and financial impact of autism spectrum disorder. As part of this study, the researchers would like to interview parents of children between the ages of 3-18 years who have been diagnosed with autism, Asperger’s disorder, or pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified.

In 90 minute group interview sessions, parents will be asked questions about their child’s current wellbeing, as well as characteristics of their child that influence his or her wellbeing. They will also be asked about their own wellbeing, both physically and emotionally, and the financial costs that their family has had to bear because of their child’s autism spectrum disorder.

via Autism-PDD Message Boards: Boston, MA area research study.

Autism and the holidays

With Halloween now behind us, the rest of the holiday season is now in front of us. The holidays are meant to be times when families and friends come together to enjoy each other and just the opposite may be the case in families who have children on the spectrum.

It takes special consideration, thought and proactively preparing for the holidays to make them an enjoyable experience for everyone. So, now is the perfect time to start planning. It’s a constant balancing act between the needs of the child or children with special needs and the rest of the family. There are no right and wrong answers and what might work for one family may not work for another.

via More Holidays Around the Corner | Autism, Asperger’s & Beyond.

Moms write book about autism with humor and wisdom

Two mothers with four autistic children between them have written a book on the humorous side of parenting a child with autism. Sandy Hallett and Nikki Wisor’s How our Children With Autism Raised Us As Parents; The Ninety-Nine Jobs Needed to Raise Kids With Autism includes 99 jobs a parent needs – two of the jobs are barber and plumber!

Raising children with autism can be challenging, but a local woman teamed up with a friend to write a book that is helping parents worldwide.

So far the book has been sold to people on three continents. Sandy Hallett and her husband live in Seneca County. They have a nine year old son with autism. Her best friend has three children with autism and together they’ve written a humorous account of their lives with the kids.

It’s called How Our Children with Autism Raised us as Parents; The 99 jobs needed to raise children with autism.

via Local mom teams with friend; writes book on autism | 13abc.com.

Utah author and mother writes about autism journey

The average 2-year-old can speak more than 100 words. By 3, that number jumps to anywhere from 200 to 1,000. Michael Swaner never hit those milestones. In 32 years he has never spoken a word.

As an infant, Michael was diagnosed with severe low-functioning autism, a neurological disorder that impedes brain development. More than 1 million people in the United States are affected by autism, though only a small percentage of those cases are as severe as Michael’s.

“If there’s one thing you don’t get enough of with autism, it’s affection,” said Michael’s mother Ruth Swaner, USU graduate and author of the book “Words Born of Silence.”

The book, Swaner’s third, is about her personal journey in dealing with the anger, denial, acceptance and what she likes to call “over-dedication” of autism.

“One day my oldest son came up to me and said ‘We’re tired of helping you take care of Michael,’” she said. This was a turning point. She realized that she was so caught up in Michael’s needs that she wasn’t meeting the needs of her family or herself.

via Local author tells of journey with Autism – USU Statesman.

Swallow your pride and ask for help: The challenge for family caregivers

Carolyn Rosenblatt of AgingParents.com says she learned a lot while listening to a discussion of family caregivers at the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California event. She blogged for Forbes.com on advice from experienced family caregivers. Here are some of the caregivers’ answers when asked, ““what advice would you give to other families who may be just starting out as caregivers?”

One woman said that she hesitated too long in asking for help. She thought she could do it all. It just got too difficult eventually, and she found a great resource in the Alzheimer’s Assn. support groups. She still attended them weekly. She got respite care for her husband, too.

The man who was caring for his mom said he wished that he had more help from his family, but none was forthcoming. He finally also swallowed his pride and asked for help outside his family. He got it, though he had to also learn to deal with his very difficult and unpredictable mother.

Another woman on the panel said she wished doctors and others would stop telling her “take care of yourself”. She said she was always doing the best she could. She took care of herself when she was able to do so, and her job as caregiver allowed only a little of that.

via Swallow Your Pride and Ask for Help: The Challenge For Family Caregivers – Carolyn Rosenblatt – Aging Parents – Forbes.

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/ –.

Alzheimer’s warning sign – money problems

The country is observing National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in November. Here’s an important story from The New York Times on an  early warning sign of Alzheimer’s – a problem handling finances.

Renee Packel used to have a typical suburban life. Her husband, Arthur, was a lawyer and also sold insurance. They lived in a town house just outside Philadelphia, and Mrs. Packel took care of their home and family.

One day, it all came crashing down. The homeowners’ association called asking for their fees. To Mrs. Packel’s surprise, her husband had simply stopped paying them. Then she learned he had stopped writing checks to his creditors, too.

It turned out that Mr. Packel was developing Alzheimer’s disease and had forgotten how to handle money. When she tried to pay their bills, Mrs. Packel, who enlisted the help of a forensic accountant, could not find most of the couple’s money.

“It just disappeared,” she said.

What happened to the Packels is all too common, Alzheimer’s experts say. New research shows that one of the first signs of impending dementia is an inability to understand money and credit, contracts and agreements.

via Alzheimer’s Warning Sign – Money Problems – Vanishing Mind – NYTimes.com.

Knoxville program helps employ adults with autism

Adults with autism are getting job training and better acquainted with their community in Knoxville, Tennessee, thanks to Breakthrough Knoxville. The parent-started organization also provides housing, social groups, respite care and other services for autistic people age 18 and older. Breakthrough Knoxville is also working on developing a neighborhood for adults with autism!

Here’s a local news story on the employment program. We wish there were job opportunities for adults with autism in every community!

Every Tuesday, Jennifer Wilkerson helps “Scrappin in the City” open up shop.

“She vacuums. She dusts. She mops,” says Yvette Morris, co-owner of Scrappin In The City.

Not only is she a real go getter, Jennifer is perhaps the store’s most pleasant employee.

“Just a week ago, she started giggling and laughing,” says Sarah Preston, co-owner of Scrappin In The City. Jennifer is autistic. Thanks to a program called Breakthrough Knoxville, she landed a job at Scrappin In The City back in August.

“Breakthrough by design is to help improve the lives of adults with Autism,” says William Brown with Breakthrough Knoxville. “That’s our motto.”

via Knoxville program helps employ adults with autism | wbir.com.

Jane Lynch and Jane Fonda bust out the workout moves to help fight Alzheimer’s

Between them they have a combined age of 102.

But watching them bust out the workout moves you’d think Jane Lynch and Jane Fonda were still teenagers. The two Janes took to the stage yesterday in Long Beach, California in front of a packed convention center, as they helped co-host California First Lady Maria Shriver’s women’s conference.

The two actresses are both obviously in top physical shape and they embarked in a vigorous workout, encouraging the crowd to move along with them. It’s not surprising they’re so fit – 50-year-old Lynch seems to spend the majority of her time in sweats these days as she plays a PE teacher on the hit TV show Glee. And Fonda, 72, is a workout fanatic, even producing her own series of top selling workout tapes during the 1980s.

It was a star-studded affair with Peter Gallagher, Soleil Moon Frye, Rob Lowe and Leeza Gibbons all lending their support along with Fonda and Lynch.

Fifty-four-year-old Shriver is a long- time advocate for families struggling with Alzheimer’s. Her own father, Sargent, has battled the disease since being diagnosed in 2003.

Since that time, Shriver has been deeply involved in raising awareness and funding for Alzheimer care and research.

via Jane Lynch and Jane Fonda bust out the workout moves to help fight Alzheimer’s | Mail Online.