POINT PLEASANT — Tracking bracelets for Alzheimer’s patients and those suffering with other disabilities are now available for Mason County residents through the Mason County Sheriff’s Department.
Thanks to a $4,575 grant from the Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation to the Mason County Commission, Project Lifesaver is available and free to those in need.
The ultimate goal of the program in the county is that in the event of an incident where an affected individual becomes lost, they are quickly located before any harm or loss of life takes place. Terry Powell of the Mason County Sheriff’s Department helps operate the program and said there’s only a small opportunity of time to find a missing person suffering from the disabilities which might prompt a caregiver to request a bracelet. The program can be utilized by caregivers of not only Alzheimer’s’s patients as well as caregivers of special needs individuals, including children with conditions such as autism who could wander off and become lost.
Individuals wearing the bracelets which resemble hospital bands, can be tracked by a portable transmitter operated by the Mason County Sheriff’s Department. The Claflin Foundation grant helped purchase 15 transmitter kits as well as one set of transmitter decals which identify the bands as Mason County property and gives instructions and a contact number in the event of a problem.
The program is relatively new in Mason County and Powell said he’s already used the devices in a few cases where the individuals were found without any harm coming to them - proving the program works. There are currently 14 bracelets available and six clients utilizing the service.
Attorney Stephen Littlepage represents the Claflin Foundation and says the Claflins, who were elderly when they passed away, did not have the burden of dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s in their lives but recognized some of their friends weren’t that fortunate. For this reason, Littlepage said he felt the Claflin’s would support awarding the grant to the commission for this program.
County Administrator John Gerlach, who applied for the grant on behalf of the county commission, said the program fills a void in the community. In the grant application, Gerlach stated, “Many of these families have limited resources to begin with and would have difficulty in purchasing this life saving equipment.”
Project Lifesaver’s mission is to use state of the art technology in assisting those who care for victims of Alzheimer’s and other Related Mental Dysfunction Disorders and victims who become lost. Again, these victims come from a wide range of backgrounds from those who are afflicted with Down Syndrome, Autism, developmental disorders as well as the elderly.
Those interested in participating in the free program should call Powell or Greene at the sheriff’s department at 304-675-3838.