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Project Lifesaver helps families find lost loved ones

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 7:51 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - It’s not uncommon for those with Alzheimer’s Disease or onset Dementia to wander off. And it’s a terrifying feeling of uncertainty for the families not knowing if their loved one will be found.

When someone goes missing, every minute matters.

“Back in the old days, if a person, an adult 65 or over with Alzheimer’s went missing, if they weren’t found within 24 hours, there was a 50% chance they would be dead when they were found,” Bay County Sheriff’s Deputy Mario Lupica said.

But with special technology, a few minutes is all Bay County Sheriff’s deputies need.

“We actually had a person from out of town that wandered off today that happened to have their transmitter information with them. And we were able to find them within probably about 15 minutes,” Lupica said.

Project Lifesaver is an international program that gives families peace of mind knowing a lost loved one can be found.

“So in the event, they were to walk away from the home, they were able to track them within a 5-mile radius on the ground and 10 miles radius in a helicopter,” Bay County Alzheimer’s Alliance Financial Officer Ruth Peavy said.

All it takes is a specific device and a matching bracelet. The bracelet acts as a transmitter for the receiver, and every transmitter has a different frequency.

The bracelet itself is lightweight and durable. Once it’s snapped on, it won’t be coming off. The person wearing it will sleep with it, shower with it, and ultimately continue on with their day like normal.

The Bay County Alzheimer’s Alliance teamed up with both the Sheriff’s Office and Springfield Police to help about a dozen caregivers.

“We work together to make sure that family has that extra level of security so they feel that their loved ones are safe at all times. That’s 24 hours, 7 days a week,” Peavy said.

The program is completely free. If you’re interested in signing up a loved one for Project Lifesaver, all you have to do is reach out to either Bay County Sheriff’s Office or Springfield Police.

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