SMITH COUNTY, Texas — Most of us don't want to entertain the thought of our loved ones getting lost, never mind the possibility of not being found.
Because wandering is such a common behavior in people with dementia, anyone with Alzheimer's disease is at risk of wandering at any time, even if wandering or getting lost has not been a problem in the past. Survival after wandering drops to 50% if the person is not located within 24 hours.
Project Lifesaver (PLS) is a program offered by the Alzheimer's Alliance of Smith County in coordination with the Smith County Sheriff's Office and the Tyler Police Department. PLS is a proven tracking system based on radio technology that is responsible for the rescue of over 2,000 people to date in the United States.
The participant wears a waterproof transmitter bracelet that emits a radio signal unique to the wearer. When the person is reported wandering or missing, the device can be tracked by law enforcement using a corresponding receiver. The national average time to locate a missing person using Project Lifesaver is only 30 minutes.
By enrolling in the program, your loved one and their caregiver receives the necessary equipment to check their bracelet daily, monthly battery changes by Alliance staff and volunteers, and annual registration in the Project Lifesaver database used by law enforcement.
In October 2019, the Smith County Alzheimer's Alliance was one of the recipients of a $5,000 grant from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America for PLS. The local organization was the only group from Texas and one of 10 grantees across the country.
For more information on PLS, click here.