Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that destroys memory and intellectual function. Common symptoms include memory loss, confusion, lack of judgment, and inability to communicate. Over a period of years, the disease leads to the complete loss of cognitive function, and a long period of dependency. Alzheimer’s patients, along with individuals with other dementias, have a tendency to “wander”. Many will wander repeatedly.
There are many dangers to the wanderer. An elderly Alzheimer’s patient who is lost is at risk for injury or exposure. Worse, wanderers themselves do not perceive the risks, and they often fail to respond to rescuers during a search. This limits the usefulness of standard search methods (such as calling a person by name) and, in turn, complicates rescue and recovery efforts.
Project Lifesaver is a free service offered to residents of Mariposa County. If you are the caretaker of a person with Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism, or other conditions that make them likely to wander, Project Lifesaver can provide peace of mind. SCOPE volunteers will fit your loved one with a plastic bracelet that weighs just one ounce. This bracelet contains a waterproof radio transmitter. Each bracelet is assigned a unique radio frequency.
If a Project Lifesaver client goes missing, their caregiver should use 911 to call the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office immediately. A search and rescue team can then respond to the wanderer's area and start searching with the mobile locater tracking system.
For more information on enrolling in Project Lifesaver, call Sergeant Chris Ramirez or John Meloy at (209) 966-3615.
Information on additional resources is available in the Mariposa County Caregiver's Guide.