Project Lifesaver, a free program that uses special technology to safely locate seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia who wander from their homes, will host an open enrollment from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 17 at the Yorktown Community and Cultural Center, 1974 Commerce St., Yorktown.
‘Lifesaver’ program helps to find seniors with Alzheimer’s who wander
Through Project Lifesaver, seniors are fitted with special radio-frequency bracelets. Then, should they wander away from their homes, specifically trained and equipped police from the county Department of Public Safety can find them using the radio signals that the bracelets transmit.
To be eligible for Project Lifesaver, a senior must live in Westchester, be dependent upon the person they live with and have a tendency to wander. A limited number of bracelets are still available.
Since the program began in 2008, county police have rescued eight seniors, including a 72-year-old man who was missing in Yonkers earlier this summer. In addition, the police have been alerted to search for 14 more missing seniors, but the person had been found before they arrived.
“I encourage all caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia to learn about this wonderful program,” said Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino. “Project Lifesaver helps us to find missing seniors more quickly. I hope that it will also give some peace of mind to the families who love and care for these seniors.”
The batteries in the bracelets must be changed every month. To make the service as convenient as possible for caregivers, there are eight sites at senior centers, nutrition sites and social adult day centers throughout the county to obtain new ones.
Project Lifesaver is sponsored by the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services (DSPS) and its Livable Communities initiative, as well as the Westchester Public/Private Partnership for Aging Services and International Project Lifesaver. The program on Aug. 17 is also presented by the Livable Communities’ Mid-Central Connection.
Project Lifesaver is administered by the ElderServe Safe Center for Seniors, part of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale.
DSPS Commissioner Mae Carpenter said that Project Lifesaver is one of many programs the department sponsors to support caregivers.
“Caring for an elderly person is an act of love by a family member, but it is often an exhausting and lonely job,” Carpenter said. “That is why neighbors and others in the community must volunteer to lend a hand. This situation will continue to grow as the population continues to age so we need everyone to lend a hand.”