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GPS Helps Alzheimer's Patient Safety

Sixty percent of Alzheimer's patients will wander, but there are tools that can help to keep them from getting lost.

Alzheimer's can be a stressful disease for everyone involved, including caregivers and their loved ones. One thing that can heighten the stress is the wandering that can occur. 

Sixty percent of Alzheimer and dementia patients wander, which is the afflicted individual walking off for a reason and getting lost in the confusion. Local agencies including the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office offer services to help.

In order to keep Alzheimer's and dementia patients safer, there are services including one offered through the sheriff's office that can be used to help keep track and return wanderers home safely.

Services offered by the Alzheimer's Association include:

  • Comfort Zone utilizes a GPS unit to track wandering individuals on a map.
  • Safe Return uses necklaces and bracelets, worn by the patients, that have phone number and address information printed on them.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in partnership with SafetyNet by Lo Jack has a program "to better respond to calls for service of missing adults and children with special needs who tend to wander from home," according to its website.

Participants in the sheriff's office program wear a personal transmitter, which emits a signal that helps first responders locate the individual.

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