Keep the holidays happy for loved ones with dementia

Gary Barg, editor of Today’s Caregiver magazine, offers these tips to help manage the holiday mayhem if you have somebody at home with Alzheimer’s disease. But we think they make good sense for any family with a loved one who has physical or emotional challenges.

1. Try to include your loved one in holiday preparations by giving him something to do that is within his abilities and that will make him feel useful.

2. Maintain a sense of familiarity. Changing familiar surroundings can lead to confusion, especially for someone with memory or physical challenges. Extra cords, fragile decorations and piles of gifts can be hazards to those with limited mobility.

via Keep the holidays happy for loved ones with dementia.

Sobering Statistics about Alzheimer’s Wandering

How many people suffering from Alzheimer’s go missing each day?

I have never seen this number reported. There are some educated guesstimates — around 125,000 in a year. However, as far as I can tell, there are only about 30,000 reported cases in a year. So the range in any given day is between 342 and 82. A sobering thought.

via Alzheimer’s Reading Room: Sobering Statistics about Alzheimer’s Wandering.

Boy with Asperger’s lives 11 days in NYC subway system

Day after day, night after night, Francisco Hernandez Jr. rode the subway. He had a MetroCard, $10 in his pocket and a book bag on his lap. As the human tide flowed and ebbed around him, he sat impassively, a gangly 13-year-old boy in glasses and a red hoodie, speaking to no one.

After getting in trouble in class in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, and fearing another scolding at home, he had sought refuge in the subway system. He removed the battery from his cellphone. “I didn’t want anyone to scream at me,” he said.

All told, Francisco disappeared for 11 days last month — a stretch he spent entirely in subway stations and on trains, he says, hurtling through four boroughs. And somehow he went undetected, despite a round-the-clock search by his panicked parents, relatives and family friends, the police and the Mexican Consulate.

Via Runaway Spent 11 Days in the Subways

Project Lifesaver is a Lifeline to the Missing

When loved ones are missing, finding them quickly can mean the difference between life and death.

Project Lifesaver helps to locate adults and children who wander off due to autism, Alzheimer’s, Down syndrome, stroke, dementia and other conditions that can cause short-term memory problems, thereby reducing their risk for serious injury and death when they are alone.


SafetyNet Podcast: Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

In recognition of November as National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, SafetyNet hosted an educational podcast that provides valuable information related to Alzheimer’s including:

· The rising incidence of Alzheimer’s in the U.S.

· Common day-to-day challenges faced by people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers

· Risks such as the common, yet life-threatening issue of wandering and steps caregivers can take to protect loved ones

· Advice for caregivers on building a strong support network

· Valuable online resources for caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s

The podcast addressed these subject matters with a panel of experts, including Gerald Flaherty, Vice President for Medical & Scientific Programs at the Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association; Jill Gilbert, Vice President at; and John Paul Marosy, General Manager at SafetyNet.

via SafetyNet Podcasts: Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

High Tech Systems Help Keep Track of People with Alzheimer’s Disease

Wandering is a huge issue for many caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease. The biggest problem may be that one never knows when the urge to wander will hit the person with the disease. Even if the care receiver has never wandered before, when will the first time be?

One thing about dementia is that it does not make the person with the disease less “intelligent.” They just think differently. Often, when there is enough will behind a desire, people can be quite crafty. Caregivers who have disabled cars – so they thought – to keep someone from driving, only to find the person with Alzheimer’s figured out the trick and “fixed” the car, will attest to this fact.

via Alzheimer’s – High Tech Systems Help Keep Track of People with AD.

SafetyNet and Project Lifesaver Expand Search & Rescue Solution into New Hampshire

WESTWOOD, Mass., Oct. 14  — The Project Lifesaver Program and the SafetyNet System have expanded into New Hampshire, their 45th state, according to an announcement made today by Project Lifesaver International and SafetyNet. This tracking and rescue solution, which is now available in Salem, NH and used by the Salem Police Department, offers public safety agencies the necessary training, technology and procedures to enable the successful rescue of people with cognitive conditions — such as Alzheimer’s and autism — who wander or otherwise become lost.

As part of its commitment to protecting people at risk of wandering, SafetyNet has provided Radio Frequency-based SafetyNet Search and Rescue receivers at no cost to the Salem Police Department.

Project Lifesaver International, a non-profit organization that specializes in electronic search and rescue (SAR) programs, conducted in-depth training and provided certification to the Salem Police Department in late September. Their training includes teaching public safety officials how to use the SafetyNet System and how to gain the trust of and communicate with people at risk who wander, as well as to ensure that caregivers are well versed in the program — all of which are essential to a successful rescue.

“We are excited about this partnership with Project Lifesaver and SafetyNet,” said William J. Ganley III, Deputy Chief, Salem Police Department. “This will allow our police department to be proactive, rather than reactive in dealing with this critical need in our community. Thanks to donations from community groups like Kiwanis, we can better serve the people who need our help the most.”

via SafetyNet and Project Lifesaver Expand Search & Rescue Solution into New Hampshire.

Keeping Alzheimer’s patients safe can be tough task

It was a frigid afternoon with snow still on the ground from a storm the previous day. Mary Williams was in the backyard of her Elmont home. She just went outside for a minute, but that’s all it took for her husband Calvin, who has Alzheimer’s, to slip away from the house.

Police didn’t find him until the next day. He was caught trying to break into a silver Honda Accord – the same make, model and color of the family’s car – for warmth. Wearing only a sweater, pants and sneakers – no socks or coat – he had walked for hours and hours. He was found in Brooklyn.

via Keeping Alzheimer’s patients safe can be tough task.

Many underestimate how far patients can wander

Det. Lt. John Allen, commanding officer of Nassau’s special services squad, which includes adult missing persons cases, said he sees about 40 Alzheimer missing person cases a year, which is only a tiny percentage of his overall adult missing persons caseload of 600. Still, because of the cognitive issues in Alzheimer’s cases, time can mean the difference between finding someone alive or finding them frozen to death.

“The problem with missing persons cases – we’re not very good at finding people,” Allen said. “We’re pretty good at finding cars, because that’s what police do. We’re pretty good at finding EZ Passes, cell phones. . . . If you’re talking about grandma and grandpa, 90 years old, walked out of the house without a wallet, without car keys, without a cell phone and they walked away and they had a little cash in their pocket and they might have gotten on a bus or a train – they’re not easy to find.”

via Many underestimate how far patients can wander.

How to Handle Someone with Alzheimer’s Who Wanders |

Wandering, which includes pacing restlessly in a room, meandering aimlessly through the house, or wandering away from home or from companions in a public place, is no small hazard: People with Alzheimer’s have been known to wander away from homes or nursing facilities and been found very ill or even dead from stress, lack of proper medication, or exposure to the elements.

via How to Handle Someone with Alzheimer’s Who Wanders |