Host Sergeant Bill West interviews guests Sergeant John Harring and Ralph Poland of Safety Net. The SafetyNet® Tracking Systems Service provides law enforcement and public safety agencies with training, equipment and proven technology to help them quickly find and rescue individuals with cognitive conditions such as autism and Alzheimer’s who wander and become lost while enrolled in the SafetyNet® Tracking Systems Service.
We at SafetyNet Tracking Systems would like to invite you to participate in a very important survey concerning caregivers and the issues and concerns associated with wandering. This survey is part of a major national study that is being conducted by the Cohens Children’s Medical Center in New York and is in cooperation with several organizations such as the National Autism Association. The information that you provide in this survey will help all to understand the many issues associated with wandering and could help to save lives. Even if your loved one has never wandered, they would appreciate your input–they want to hear from as many families as possible.
Please take a few minutes to complete the confidential survey at http://www.wanderingresearch.com/.
From Paradise Home Health Care
Danger, Risk, Fear, Anxiety, Stress, Confusion all set in when a loved one with impaired judgment wanders off. Wandering is a behavior not uncommon to Alzheimer’s disease, other Dementias or Autism. Children and Seniors with some type of cognitive disability may wander off – and not be able to return home safely.
Living in South Florida, it is a daily occurence to see a Silver Alert – seeking an older senior who has driven off. Wandering by foot is one thing, by car, panic, and the person must be located as soon as possible.
Some ideas are helpful in preventing the wandering:
1. Medication. 2. Top bolt on upper part of the door 3. Bells on door odf their room and leading outside 4. Hiring an aide or companion at night
and still, a determined person can get away, it happens in a moment— as any watchful parent can attest to. It is a good idea to let neighbors know if your loved one may wander, and put your fist name and phone number in their wallet so you can be called.
Fortunately, technology has come up with a quick and easy way to locate an elderly (or child, teen) family member who has “gotten away”. SafetyNet by Lo/Jack has Radio Frequency Technology put into a lightweight button worn around the wrist which can find a person, usually within 30 minutes.
Unlike other GPS types of technology, this is waterproof, locates in dense areas like woods or where there are many buildings together and it is used in conjunction with Law Enforcement.
So if you are living with and caring for a person with diminished capacity, brain damage or a dementia and wanders off, do your best to keep them safe and consider adding this extra layer of protection and peace of mind. Should your parent, grandparent get out of the house or away from you in a Mall, SafetyNet by Lo/Jack will be able to find them in short order.
Technology will help in other ways too in preventing the person from wandering off undetected but somehow, some folks still wander off so finding and returning them home safely before any danger can happen is equally important.
1. Keep decorations to a minimum. Decorations that change the look of the house may lead to anxiety and confusion.
2. Avoid the scary Halloween doormat. If it scares a 6-year-old, it will scare a person with dementia.
3. Don’t put out a fake cemetery and hanging goblins in the front yard. Decorations may get you in the holiday spirit but don’t be surprised when your loved one refuses to walk in or out of the house.
4. Avoid night time use of flashlights, candles and light-up pumpkins. A person with dementia will have visual perception changes and the eerie glow that they cast can lead to high anxiety.
5. Stay away from the malls while the little ghosts and goblins are trick or treating. It may be a safer way for the kids to enjoy the holiday but for a person with dementia it will just add to the confusion and anxiety.
6. Put the candy in a safe place. Avoid leaving the treats by the front door. Your loved one with dementia may not know that he/she has dietary restrictions. Save yourself a trip to the hospital and lock the candy in a safe place.
7. Keep furniture in its place. Consequently, your loved one will not become confused or even worse, bump into things and fall. Alzheimer’s affects balance and perception. Watch out for low-lying candles! It’s always easier to prevent than to treat.
8. Avoid rigging up strange sounds like ghostly laughter or creaking doors. Avoid these because they bombard people with too much stimuli.
9. Let neighbors know that candy will be placed outside the door. So that children will not keep ringing the doorbell and frightening your loved one. Or put up a note on the door with instructions for trick or treaters.
Halloween can be tweaked and personalized to communicate a meaningful updated ritual. Both you and your loved one will enjoy the current anticipation as you tap into a positive memory of past celebrations. Make decorations together to maximize the occasion. Art therapy provides positive stimulation and creative self-expression. And while you are coloring and pasting, play music in the background, preferably from your loved one’s time period, for happiness synergy.
SafetyNet would like to thank ElderCare at Home for these helpful tips.
Today’s is World Alzheimer’s Day, a day on which Alzheimer’s organizations around the world concentrate their efforts on raising awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Every 68 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s disease. At current rates, experts believe the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s will quadruple to as many as 16 million by the year 2050.
One of the major concerns associated with Alzheimer’s is the fact that up to 60 percent of all patients with the disease will wander (source: Alzheimer’s Association). Just this Wednesday, a 78-year-old Braintree man who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s wandered from his home. Fortunately, he was located more than a mile away in front of a residential home. Deputies and officers with the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office and Braintree Police Department, who were equipped with SafetyNet tracking equipment, were able to find him less than 20 minutes after they began their search.
At SafetyNet, we recommend that caregivers consider doing any or all of the following to best protect their loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s:
- Advise local first responders: Fill out a 9-1-1 disability indicator form and submit it to your local law enforcement agency. The information provided on the form enables a special code to appear on the 9-1-1 dispatcher’s screen, alerting law enforcement that a person residing at that address may require special assistance during an emergency. In addition to this form, complete a more detailed handout with information about your loved one that you can provide to first responders. Keep copies of your handout in printed and electronic formats so you can readily provide it to search and rescue personnel in the event of an incident.
- Inform your neighbors: Give them a handout with a picture of your loved one, physical characteristics and emergency contact information. You may also want to describe your loved one’s fears and effective ways to approach, communicate with and calm your loved one. Ask them to contact you immediately if they see your loved one outside your home or property.
- Secure your home: Use deadbolt locks, keep doors and windows locked and install an alarm system/alert chimes on doors. Consider installing a fence around your property. Motion detectors may also be appropriate.
- Eliminate triggers for wandering: If your loved one has a fixation on certain sounds or objects that draw him to investigate and wander, you may be able to eliminate these distractions.
- Get an ID necklace/bracelet and consider a personal tracking device: List your emergency contact information on personal IDs and on tags for shoes, clothes and purses/bags. Also, a Radio Frequency (RF) device like SafetyNet is ideal for people at risk of wandering, because it has strong signals that can penetrate any physical obstruction. With an RF device, your loved one can be found in places that a GPS or cellular product cannot reach, such as in a wooded area, mall or parking garage.
Three out of four Americans are at risk for some type of natural disaster – such as hurricane, wildfire, earthquake, tornado or flood. The 5.3 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease are particularly vulnerable. According to a recent report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the likelihood of severe weather due to climate changes will only increase in the coming years. Droughts, heavy downpours, excessive heat and intense hurricanes are likely to become more common.
Based on research with caregivers in disaster prone areas, the MIT AgeLab and The Hartford Advance 50 Team identified the top 10 essential elements of a disaster plan for the nearly 10 million family members or friends who provide care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease at home.
10 Tips for Caregivers
1. Build a large and diverse network that includes people outside of your day-to-day support system, but who are familiar with your loved one’s memory disorder.
2. Designate a substitute caregiver to assist your loved one if a disaster is imminent or strikes while they are home alone.
3. Do not assume your professional caregiver has a plan. Develop one together.
4. Have an evacuation plan. The decision to evacuate is especially complex when someone with Alzheimer’s is involved. Research where you would go. Expect noisy and crowded conditions at public disaster shelters, which could exacerbate challenging behaviors. If you need to go do not delay, you do not want to be in traffic for hours or even days.
5. Consider what strategy you would use to get your loved one to leave quickly and calmly. Anticipate resistance. Use tactics that have been successful in the past such as using a favorite possession or food to encourage cooperation.
6. Prepare a disaster kit with basic supplies as well as extra medications and copies of important papers. Expect that your loved one may have forgotten where items are stored.
7. Pack familiar, comforting items to keep your loved one occupied en route and while away, such as a portable DVD player, favorite books, pictures, music, games and comfortable clothes.
8. Sign up for the Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return/Medic Alert program, which can give assistance if your loved one wanders. Six out of 10 people with Alzheimer’s disease will wander at some point and this behavior is more likely under stress.
9. Plan for pets too. As difficult as it can be for anyone to be separated from pets in a crisis, for a person with Alzheimer’s this separation can be even more upsetting.
10. Revaluate your plan as your loved one’s disease progresses. His or her functional ability two months from now might be very different from what it is today.
“Being prepared for a natural disaster is important for all of us, but it is especially critical for family caregivers of those with memory disorders, who face additional challenges during a disaster,” said Cynthia Hellyar, gerontologist, The Hartford Advance 50 Team. “Changes in routine or surroundings can be very disturbing for some people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Having a plan helps you as the caregiver function calmly, which is paramount to keeping your loved one calm.”
These tips and more are detailed in The Calm Before the Storm: Family Conversations about Disaster Planning, Caregiving, Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. To order a free copy of the booklet – the first comprehensive natural disaster planning guide specifically created for caregivers, families and friends of those with memory disorders – visit http://www.thehartford.com/calmbeforethestorm.
Source: MIT AgeLab
© Copyright 2009, Alzheimer’s Weekly LLC. All Rights Reserved
There’s a chill in the air and the trees are almost bare. Here in New England that’s a clear sign that fall is upon us and soon the Thanksgiving holiday will be here. Where ever you are and whatever your situation is, Thanksgiving is a perfect time to give thanks!
Personally, I’m thankful for my wonderful family, my health, my spouse, my caring co-workers, my two dogs and many many other things. I urge you to think about what you are thankful for and to let those people (and pets!) know how much you appreciate them.
As a company, we here at SafetyNet sincerely appreciate our close nit community. Our customers, followers and supporters have played a massive role in our growth and we truly appreciate and want to thank all of you.
It’s a great feeling for us when we hear about success stories like this and this, which proves our efforts to bring loved ones back home with our SafetyNet service really do work and we are in fact saving lives.
As the Thanksgiving holiday comes closer, here are some links that may be helpful to you:
Thanksgiving Travel Tips:
Thanksgiving Cooking and Safety Tips:
Thanksgiving Events – Family and Black Friday:
Thank you for reading and we look forward to a prosperous 2012 and beyond.
Jason at SafetyNet
By Jennifer Morrissey
Customer Care Specialist, SafetyNet
When I attend conferences and events, I’m lucky enough to meet a lot of parents and caregivers. And it is safe to say that a lot of people don’t know what Radio Frequency is. It is also safe to say that I didn’t know much about it before I joined SafetyNet.
I feel it is important for me to say right away that each family needs to find a system that works for them, whether it’s RF, cellular or GPS. Eloping or wandering is a serious issue that affects those with cognitive conditions such as autism, Alzheimer’s, dementia, Down syndrome, brain injuries and other serious conditions. And while the families have already prepared for a wandering incident by using special locks around the house on doors and windows, alarms and fences – sometimes it is just not enough. I have heard many parents of children with autism describe their son or daughter as “Houdini.” No matter what lengths they have taken, their child is still able to get out.
It is when your loved one gets out of the safe, secure area of your home that the SafetyNet™ Service comes into play. Once you realize he is missing, you will undoubtedly call 911 about this emergency. Since law enforcement is going to do the search anyway, you may want to add the SafetyNet Service to the tool box and help bring your loved one home sooner. The average missing person search is roughly nine hours. Nowadays, you don’t have to go very far to read a story in the news or on Facebook about someone missing overnight or even for days. And with the cold weather coming, every minute counts. The SafetyNet Service could bring them home within minutes.
Now on to why I feel RF is the best locating device for a missing person.
Radio Frequency is not obstructed by concrete. Not steel. Not densely wooded areas. And, it can work in shallow water.
How many times have you had a dropped call on your cell phone? Or maybe you can’t even make cell phone calls from inside your own home or office. Sometimes your cell phone will be in a “dead zone” where you may get a “No Service” message. Basically, you need to be near cell towers in order to use a cell phone. So if you find yourself in an area where there is too much distance between the towers or no towers at all (usually in remote areas), the phone won’t be able to find a signal and therefore you’ll get “No Service.” Essentially, your loved one could be wearing a cellular device and end up somewhere without service and the signal would not get picked up.
Last week, I was using the GPS in my car and when I pulled into an underground garage, it stopped working. The reason for that is because the GPS unit needs a direct line of sight to the sky andsatellite from which it is getting the directions. Because I went into an underground structure made of concrete, the GPS could not communicate with the satellite and lost contact.
Two weeks ago, SafetyNet was used to find a missing teen with autism. The police found him within minutes in an underground subway system of Boston. Radio Frequency was able to penetrate through the subway system and onto land, where officers with the MBTA Police were able to pick up a signal using SafetyNet’s equipment and head to the location of the missing boy. You can read more about that story on BostonHerald.com.
I also mention to parents and caregivers that the equipment that public safety officers use can pick up the RF signal in the SafetyNet bracelet up to one mile on the ground and up to 7 miles in the air. SafetyNet equipment has been used multiple times by aviation units to find a missing person, including this past week in Philadelphia – http://www.metro.us/philadelphia/local/article/975850–police-missing-man-located-with-safetynet-technology.
The last thing I talk about has nothing to do with RF, but I find it incredibly important. During the training that public safety gets from SafetyNet officials, they not only learn about using the equipment but also on how to approach and interact with someone who has a cognitive condition. We here at SafetyNet take the time to learn about your loved one during the enrollment process so that we can share that information in a secure database with public safety agencies. That way, they have a sense of who your son, daughter, mother, father or loved one is before they even reach the scene. Is your son afraid of dogs? Does your father walk with a cane?
The SafetyNet Service uses tried and true RF technology. That along with trained law enforcement, you can feel good about your loved one on the SafetyNet service. Enroll before the end of September by October 15, 2011 and get waived enrollment and six months free.
Congratulations to the Marathon County (WI) Sheriff’s Office! They were the first public safety agency in Wisconsin to use SafetyNet’s state-of-the-art technology and safely rescue a missing person who had wandered and went missing.
A 71-year-old woman with dementia wandered away from her Wausau, Wisconsin residence and went missing late last week. Just 30 seconds after deputies with the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the missing woman’s residence (her point last seen), they located her using SafetyNet’s Search and Rescue Receivers. The woman was located behind a building near her residence.
A deputy with the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office was pleased with the speed and efficiency of the SafetyNet-enhanced search and rescue, as was the woman’s family!
At SafetyNet, we were all thrilled to hear about this terrific story. And, we want more caregivers to have an opportunity to try the service for themselves. Now through September 30th October 15th, 2011, we’re giving caregivers and parents the opportunity to try the SafetyNet service for free for six months. If during the first six months you or your loved one is not satisfied with the service for whatever reason, you are not obligated to pay anything. To learn more about this special opportunity, please visit https://www.safetynettracking.com/.
This Senior Savvy column addresses the important issue of dementia and nutrition:
Q: My mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease, lives in a nursing home. She is not eating well. She does not feel hungry and cannot be coaxed into eating. I have gone in to feed her, but she takes one bite and spits it out at me. I worry if she doesn’t eat enough, she will lose weight and become malnourished. Is there anything more I can do?
A: As dementia progresses, decreased food intake is common in later stages. Speak with the staff about your concerns. Also, feel free to speak with her primary care physician about your worries. It is important to eat and take in a certain amount of calories. The nursing home can weigh your mother weekly for weight loss. They can offer your mother high-caloric drinks, high-caloric cereal and other foods. These high-caloric items have vitamins and other important nutrients.If your mother enjoys picking up food and putting it in her mouth, consider having available a sandwich cut into bite-size pieces when you visit. Hand your mother a piece and give her time to eat it at her leisure.