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Programs keep track of elderly

Attempting to avoid incidences like the January disappearance of Denzle Stanley, an 84-year-old Albany resident, the Athens County Sheriff’s Office and the Area Agency on Aging are promoting their programs Take Me Home and Project Lifesaver.

Take Me Home is a confidential identification database with personal information and picures of those registered in the program, said Katherine Marshall, director of Take Me Home.

Marshall began the program in response to a mother’s story of her autistic  daughter.

“(The mother) stepped into the hallway for a few seconds to grab something, and then she came back and her daughter had opened the door and run out,” Marshall said.

The program is designed for anyone with cognitive and developmental disabilities, as well as people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, Marshall said.

When Marshall decided to bring the program to Athens, she contacted Det. Steve Sedwick to help with the implementation of the program.

“We have had a great response to the program,” Sedwick said. “We have around 45 members now.”

Project Lifesaver is a program designed for senior citizens. Athens County Sheriff Deputy Richard Keith, head of the program, started it six years ago.

“Participants wear this tracking bracelet, and it tracks them 24/7,” Keith said. “If they are called in missing, we will know (the person’s) location as soon as they call.”

There are 241,000 people 65 and older who have a cognitive disability such as Alzheimer’s or dementia in Ohio, said Gwynn Stewart, spokeswoman for the Area Agency on Aging.

“Wandering is one of the most life threatening issues associated with Alzheimer’s, autism and other cognitive conditions,” Program Manager Cathy Ash said in the release. “Project Lifesaver is helping to save the lives of people at risk in this community,”

The program is a free service and only requires individuals to be older than 65, to undergo an interview conducted at the Area Agency of Aging and to have a full-time caregiver.

Both programs work to help find missing people quickly and give family members peace of mind, said Keith.

“It’s the one service that you don’t really think about, but when you need it you are so happy that it is there,” Marshall said.


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