Program Helps Protect Individuals with Dementia-Related Illnesses
NEW YORK (July 15, 2021)— The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) has awarded a $6,000 grant to the Tewksbury Police Department to expand its Project Lifesaver program, which provides safety technology to Tewksbury families caring for loved ones with dementia-related illnesses who are prone to wandering.
Wandering is a common and potentially dangerous behavior among individuals with a dementia-related illness, as well as cognitive disorders such as autism. Someone with a dementia-related illness or cognitive condition who wanders can quickly become disoriented, unable to return to safety or not know how, or who, to call for help.
The Tewksbury Police Department’s Project Lifesaver program, in partnership with Project Lifesaver International, allows caregivers to voluntarily register their relative with dementia or autism to wear a small wrist or ankle transmitter that emits an individualized tracking signal. If that person goes missing, the caregiver notifies the Tewksbury Police Department, who then send officers to the wanderer’s location. Project Lifesaver technology reduces the average search and rescue time from hours, or even days, to minutes.
“The Tewksbury Police Department’s Project Lifesaver program is a valuable public safety tool for families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related illnesses,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. “Every family caregiver’s number one priority is keeping their loved one safe. We’re pleased to provide the Tewksbury Police Department with additional resources to help protect individuals living with dementia.”
Chief of Police Ryan Columbus of the Tewksbury Police Department, said, “we are extremely grateful to continue our partnership with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, which will provide much needed support to continue our Project Lifesaver program. Our Project Lifesaver program provides families with the comfort of knowing a loved one can be located if they have a propensity to wander”.
The $6,000 grant will enable the Tewksbury Police Department to grow its Project Lifesaver program to help reduce the number of injuries and deaths of individuals with dementia-related illnesses who are prone to wandering. Grant funding will allow them to update supplies and purchase and maintain new equipment, including tracking devices, batteries and bracelets. The funding will allow them to safeguard at least 10 additional families.
Families can voluntarily enroll in the Tewksbury Police Department’s Project Lifesaver program by calling 978-851-7373. Those with questions about caring for a loved one with a dementia-related illness or accessing support services can call the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s Helpline at 866-232-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.
AFA is able to provide vital services, like this grant, as a result of the generosity of individual contributions, sponsorships and fundraising activities. To help support these initiatives or learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and resources available to help families affected by it, visit www.alzfdn.org.