Project Lifesaver has given parents of autistic children in Genesee County peace of mind, now local caregivers of older adults with cognitive impairments may also benefit.
Genesee County Sheriff's Office, Genesee Senior Foundation Inc. and the Genesee County Office for the Aging are partnering in this project to save lives.
Citizens enrolled in Project Lifesaver wear a small personal transmitter around the wrist or ankle that emits an individualized tracking signal. If an enrolled client goes missing, the caregiver notifies the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office immediately, and a trained emergency team responds to the wanderer’s area. Most who wander are found within a few miles from home, and search times have been reduced from hours and days to minutes. Recovery times for Project Lifesaver clients average 30 minutes — 95-percent less time than standard operations.
Ruth Spink, director of the Office for the Aging, notes that, “For individuals with dementia, wandering can become a behavior at any time. Don’t wait for it to happen, be proactive and protect your loved one.”
Caregivers who are caring for a loved one at home in Genesee County and are interested in participating in Project Lifesaver, may call the Office for the Aging at 585-343-1611.
Each unit costs $250 with annual expenses of about $50 for batteries, etc. The Genesee Senior Foundation which is affiliated with the Office for the Aging is accepting donations for Project Lifesaver.
Spink said, “We very much hope that some folks will be moved to make a contribution. Any amount will help to underwrite the cost of a unit for families who are not in a position to pick up these costs. We would hate to see the expense be a roadblock to keeping someone safe in our community.”
Donations may sent to the Genesee Senior Foundation, 2 Bank St., Batavia, New York 14020, with notation “Project Lifesaver.”
Spink added, “We also want to remind folks of our Caregivers Program which offers long-term care services, support, and options counseling. In addition to that foundational program, we are in the first year of a five year New York State Health Department regional grant project, Western New York Alzheimer’s Caregiver Partnership.
"With that grant, we are now even better equipped to serve caregivers through additional resources offering consultation, respite services, transportation, education, joint enrichment activities, and support groups. No one should be expected to go through this challenging disease alone. We encourage people to call our office. We’re here to help.”