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Project Lifesaver

October 20, 2016 - 1:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in Office of the Aging, news, dementia, Project Lifesaver.

Press release:

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.”

July 8, 2015 - 8:24am
posted by Traci Turner in Sheriff's Office, Genesee ARC, Project Lifesaver.

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(Deputy Kevin McCarthy shows parent Kari Powers how to use the tracking bracelet.)

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The Genesee County Sheriff's Office partnered with Genesee ARC to provide tracking bracelets to children with disabilities and reassure parents that their child can be safely located.

Twelve children with disabilities were fitted for tracking bracelets today. Transmitters inside the bracelet emit signals and the Sheriff's Office can pick up the the signals with a receiver. The missing child can be located within 15 minutes. 

Sheriff Gary Maha has been trying to implement Project Lifesaver, an program that provides equipment to police officers to locate children who are at risk of wandering, in the county for several years. However, Maha was not able to get the funding until recently. The Sheriff's Office received the equipment through the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Service. The 13 transmitters and two receivers they were given cost approximately $7,500. Each transmitter is worth $350 plus the cost of batteries, which need to be replaced every month.

"I think it's important because there are children out there with disabilities including autism and Down Syndrome and many of these children have a tendency to wander," Maha said. "We have met with parents and they are overjoyed that we were able to get Project Lifesaver here in the county."

The Sheriff's Office worked with the Genesee ARC to help them implement the project. The ARC reached out to the families and assisted them with the process.

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Morgan Powers, an 8-year-old with autism, was one of the children who received a bracelet. Her parents, Brian and Kari Powers, were relieved their daughter was getting a bracelet because she has wandered off several times and safety is their biggest concern.

"We are very excited to be here," Kari Powers said. "It has been a couple of months since we found out about the program and we are very strong advocates for it. Morgan is a risk taker. She does a lot of wandering off especially these past two weeks since she has been out of school."

Maha hopes the Sheriff's Office can get more funding in the future to continue the program every year.

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