Tracking program finds Alzheimer's patients who wander

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- A neighborhood in Switzerland is still reacting to the sad news about an elderly woman, Twila Joyner, 85, who disappeared over the weekend. It's believed it was her body which was found in a neighborhood lake Monday.

Joyner had Alzheimer's.

A program in St. Johns County helps families track loved ones who may have a tendency to wander.

The program is called Safe Trak and is offered through the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

A person with Alzheimer's, dementia or autism can wear a device, which looks like a watch, on his wrist or ankle.

Then if that person disappears or wanders off, the guardian can call 911 immediately, and a specially formed team will respond to the last place the person was seen. The team will use a radio-frequency tracking device with an antenna to locate the bracelet and the person wearing it.

SJSO Sgt. Catherine Payne was on the team that helped locate 12 people last year through the Safe Trak program, and she is thrilled when they find a missing person.

Payne said, "Yeah, it's a great feeling for us. It's obviously a positive experience and a camaraderie and team-building experience as well."

There is a $250 start-up cost.

The requirements: the loved one needs to have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, dementia or autism. Also, the guardian or caretaker needs to be willing and able to call 911 immediately once the loved one disappears because the tracking device can only be located within 2 miles.

For more information on Safe Trak, click here.


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