The primary mission of Project Lifesaver is to provide timely response to save lives and reduce potential injury for adults and children who wander due to Alzheimer’s, autism, and other related conditions or disorders.
The task of searching for wandering or lost individuals with Alzheimer’s, autism, down syndrome, dementia or other cognitive conditions is a growing and serious responsibility. Without effective procedures and equipment, searches can involve multiple agencies, hundreds of officers, countless man hours and thousands of dollars. More importantly, because time is of the essence, every minute lost increases the risk of a tragic outcome.
Citizens enrolled in Project Lifesaver wear a small personal transmitter around the wrist or ankle that emits an individualized tracking signal. If an enrolled client goes missing, the caregiver notifies their local Project Lifesaver agency, and a trained emergency team responds to the wanderer’s area. Most who wander are found within a few miles from home, and search times have been reduced from hours and days to minutes. Recovery times for PL clients average 30 minutes — 95% less time than standard operations.
Initial funding was made possible through a grant provided by the Area Agency on Aging. This grant provided equipment and training necessary to make the program a reality. Since establishing the program, the Athens County Sheriff’s Office has made monthly visits to those clients and family members. The visits ensure the proper working order of the equipment, the condition of the client and to offer support for the family members. Project Lifesaver provides peace of mind to caregivers, families and communities and a sure way to turn potential tragedies into safe and happy homecomings. Continued funding for Project Lifesaver is a result of private donations and grants.
To enroll, contact the Area Agency on Aging at 1-800-331-2644.