Robert Monroe is 68 years old. He has had brain surgery and now suffers from dementia-like symptoms. On Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m., he left his house in the Sullivan Ranch neighborhood of Mount Dora, Lake County. But his normal walk turned out to be anything but for whatever reason.
Monroe just kept walking and walking and walking. In 5.5 hours, he walked 9.5 miles. He wound up at the J&M Convenience Store in Apopka off of Highway 441.
Store owner Julio Garcia immediately gave Monroe water for his apparent signs of dehydration.
“I asked him where he comes from. He didn’t know. I asked him where he slept last night. He didn’t know. I asked him where he was going. He said he was going to Orlando. I asked how he could go to Orlando on a highway like 441,” remembers Garcia.
Little did Garcia know that the Lake County Sheriff’s Office was just minutes from rescuing Monroe from his wandering walk. All thanks to a little gadget called the SafetyNet Bracelet.
Knowing that he was wearing the bracelet, Monroe’s wife had called the Sheriff’s Office to report him missing. In turn, they powered up a bunch of receivers in a helicopter and patrol cars that use radio frequency that can communicate with Monroe’s bracelet. Once they got a general idea of where he was, they got more specific pings with a hand-held receiver.
“Sometimes you might look for someone who does not have this equipment, doesn’t have a transmitter, it might be days before you locate the person,” says Sgt. Karen Lovelace of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
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.
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
Pictured (from left to right) are John Paul Marosy, SafetyNet; Councilman-at-large Jack Kelly; Mayor Michael A. Nutter; Kathy Kelleher, SafetyNet; Michael Tuckerman, Founder of Keeping Individuals Safe and Sound (KISS); and Michal Fandel, SafetyNet.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and City Councilman-at-Large Jack Kelly spoke at a Leadership Forum on Assuring the Safety of Persons Who Wander sponsored by SafetyNet on April 29. More than 50 leaders from healthcare and human service agencies in the Philadelphia area gathered for the event. Mayor Nutter praised the progress of the city-wide public-private partnership involving the city’s police department and community organizations. Police Commissioner Ramsey echoed the Mayor’s comments and praised Councilman-at-Large Jack Kelly and parent/activist Michael Tuckerman for bringing the service to the city.
We know that caring for a child with a cognitive condition, such as autism or Down syndrome, that makes them prone to wandering is stressful. So we want to give you a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to a spa. To enter, help us spread the word about SafetyNet’s wandering tip sheet by retweeting the @SafetyNetSource contest tweet on Twitter.
This contest is in recognition of Autism Awareness Month and runs through April. Here are the complete Rules and Regulations.
Alzheimer’s disease can erase a person’s memory of once-familiar surroundings and make adaptation to new surroundings extremely difficult. As a result, people with Alzheimer’s sometimes wander away from their homes or care centers and turn up — lost, frightened and disoriented — far from where they started, often long after they disappeared.
Three out of four people with Alzheimer’s will wander at some point during the course of the disease. Wanderers who get lost outdoors may become injured or even die of exposure. This risk increases dramatically if the weather is very cold or very hot.
This winter, a number of Alzheimer’s patients in the U.S. and Canada have died while wandering — either by getting hit by cars or freezing to death.
SafetyNet General Manager John Paul Marosy, elder care expert and author of several caregiver books, offers the following advice, “There is no one single strategy that can protect loved ones with Alzheimer’s from wandering.The most effective approach involves multiple strategies, which in combination deliver the best protection for the person with Alzheimer’s and peace of mind for the caregiver.”
TIPS: Here is Marosy’s 10 Step Approach:
PROVIDE INFORMATION TO HELP WITH SEARCH AND RESCUE:
Advise Local Responders First – Fill out a 911 disability indicator form and submit it to your local law enforcement agency. The information on the form alerts law enforcement 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.
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 the wanderer from opening the door.
Install a Fence Around Your Property – Set latches on the outside of gates and ensure they are in an area where the person you are caring for can’t reach them.
Use Simple Monitors, Remote Alerts and Locks – Attach monitors 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 personal tracking devices, such as SafetyNet, are a good way to help protect and locate someone in the event they do wander and give peace of mind to a caregiver. A Radio Frequency device is ideal for people at risk of wandering because, unlike GPS devices, it has strong signals that can penetrate water, dense foliage, concrete buildings and steel structures.
What do you do if your husband just wants to go outside at night all the time?
For your husband’s safety and your own piece of mind, your best bet is to ensure that your home is locked up tightly at night so that your husband cannot easily leave. For this, deadbolts that lock from the inside are useful, so long as your husband does not have access to the key. Windows will also need to be secured by some sort of locking mechanism for which only you have the key. Hang bells or other noisy things on the door handles, to alert you if he is trying to open a door. If your husband’s vision is poor, you can also try placing rugs with large dark-colored block designs in front of door exits. Dementia patients with poor vision can mistake the 2-dimensional floor objects for solid 3-dimensional objects or holes in the ground, and are deterred from crossing them. Motion-activated lights, such as are often installed outside, can be used indoors as another deterrent for the door exit area. However, it is important to keep in mind that these measures, while deterring your husband from exiting, may also serve to confuse or agitate him. So you may still need to guide him safely back to bed after he has “triggered” a safety mechanism.
TAMPA — A 77-year-old man with Alzheimer’s disease who went missing Thursday was found by deputies who activated an electronic locator on the man’s ankle.
Carl Chandler of W Hiawatha Street in Tampa goes for a walk around his neighborhood every afternoon. He’s usually gone for about a half hour.
His wife of 55 years, Naomi Fay Chandler, said she got worried when Chandler didn’t come home after about an hour.
Chandler wears an electronic SafetyNet tracker that is registered with the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office through a nonprofit Virginia company called Project Lifesaver. When Chandler’s wife notified deputies that he was missing, they turned on his tracker.