- Last Updated on 08:12 AM 12/04/12
- BY Danielle Vaughn
Area residents with family members suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Down’s syndrome or autism disorders can put their mind at ease with a program offered by the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office called Project Life Saver — “Bringing Loved Ones Home.”
Wandering is the most life-threatening behavior associated with Alzheimer’s disease, and 92 percent of respondents in an online survey said their child with autism was at risk of wandering as well, according to the New Hope Autism Center website.
Those with Down syndrome also have the potential to wander, the site indicated.
A total of 69 percent of wandering cases are associated with severe consequences, and there is a 46 percent mortality rate for those who are not located within 24 hours, the site said.
With the risk of people with autism, Alzheimer’s, Down syndrome, and other short-term memory issues wandering off, many family members find it hard to find peace of mind.
The lifesaver is a tracking device that assists law enforcement and family members in tracking those who have wandered off, said Deputy T. B. Sargent, coordinator of the program.
The device has a frequency range of a quarter mile, and the patient can wear the transmitter on their ankle or wrist, he explained.
The participating law enforcement office can pick up the frequency of the transmitter with the receiver.
Sargent said the program has been active in Halifax County for at least six years, and those who have purchased the device have not wandered off.
While the sheriff’s office has had a high success rate of finding those who don’t wear the device, Sargent said having the device would make locating those who wander much easier.
The sheriff’s office is still working on the cost of device and is trying to find ways to make it more accessible to the public, Sargent said.
According to Sargent, financial assistance is available for those interested in getting their family member a device. Family members interested in the program can call Project International to see if there are any grant options available.
With only six people in the entire county participating in the program, Sargent speaks at ARRP meetings and Ruritan Club meetings in an effort to increase awareness.
For more information on Project Lifesaver, call the Halifax County Sheriff’s Department at 434-476-4273.