Technology helps keep track of those with Alzheimer's who may wander

WESTWOOD, Kan. - It can happen in the blink of an eye; a person with Alzheimer's could walk away and not be able to find their way home.

That's what happened to Hellen Cook. She was alone for minutes and the search for her has lasted more than a week.

Now, her family is wishing they had taken more precautions.

"Get help, know the disease, learn the disease and be a step ahead of it," Hellen's daughter Terri Coo said.

Chances are you know someone who has had the disease.

In the Kansas City Metro area alone, 25,000 people have Alzheimer's and 60 percent of them will wander.

Wandering could also be a sign of another problem.

"Some of those wandering behaviors are related to depression, urinary tract infections and boredom," Michelle Niedens of the Alzheimer's Association said.

But, there's technology that can track down your loved one in case they do wander off. It's part of Project Lifesaver.

Bracelets are given out, similar to GPS tracking.

"For people that have advanced, or even the beginnings of dementia or Alzheimer's, it's a great thing for caregivers to have," Officer Donald Brooks of the Westwood Police Department said.

Westwood is the only department in the area that offers this program.

"You have the specific frequency number for that bracelet, we enter it and start searching," Officer Brooks said.
The bracelet allows police to use antennas and track down a person in a 10 mile radius.

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