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Project Lifesaver

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July 18, 2008

New Jersey--A system that uses a wrist bracelet to keep track of the disabled, including people with Alzheimer's disease, may have saved a New Jersey man's life.

His wife Arlene, who didn't want to give her last name, said she went out onto her porch to say something to her husband, and discovered that he wasn't there.

He knew where he was going, but he didn't know how to get back.
"I decided I better start walking back home, but I'll take a shortcut," Arlene's husband said.
Arlene's husband is 79-years-old, and has been diagnosed with early Alzheimer's disease.

"I began to panic, because in either direction, he would cross a busy street," Arlene said. "I took the car and drove up and down the street, and I couldn't find him."

After an hour, Arlene said she called the Mercer County Sheriff's Office.

Officer Chris Tighe with "Project Lifesaver" began tracking the signal eliminating from the bracelet Arlene's husband was wearing.

"I'm always really excited to see somebody when we know we made the rescue," he said. "He was confused. He told us that he didn't know where he was anymore."

It was a year ago that a retired New Jersey state trooper with Alzheimer's, Gordon Hector, died after he was missing for nine days.

He did not have a tracking bracelet.

"The Hector family has stood behind us and helped us raise a considerable amount of money, so that we are able to provide this to members of the public at no charge," said Mercer County Sheriff Kevin Larkin.

For anyone debating whether or not to get the bracelet, Arlene said they should not hesitate.

"Go for it," she said. "Because you can't wait until they wander the first time."

The tracking devices are also used for people with other disorders, like Autism.

The number of agencies that use project lifesaver is growing, which includes the Colquitt County Sheriff's Office.

To find out how you can get set up for the program, call 1-877-580-5433 or click here.
 

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