Technology helping to find Alzheimer’s patients in Shelby County - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Technology helping to find Alzheimer’s patients in Shelby County who wander off

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB)---State of the art technology is now being used in Shelby County, to find people who wander off.

It's called "Project Lifesaver" and it's a national program that Shelby County officials are testing out.

They currently have 2 clients, but hope to get more community members involved by the end of June.

The technology helps those suffering from Alzheimer’s, or similar illnesses.

75-year-old Nancy Burkhardt is one of the two people currently testing out the technology.

“My wife has Alzheimer's and has had it for 5 years. It continues to be a debilitating issue,” said Joe Burkhardt.

Nancy’s husband, Joe Burkhardt, says she hasn't ever left the property or given the family a scare as of yet.

Still, he doesn't want to take his chances and was recently told about the new program in Shelby

County called "Project Lifesaver", that locates people who are missing.

“The transmitter gives you a frequency number and also a transmitter number on it,” said 911 Dispatcher Sheri Abshire.

That's where Shelby County 911 Dispatch and Shelby County Emergency Management are helping out.

“We can turn on the reciever and set it to the frequency and also to the transmitter number, and it picks up the beep sound,” said Abshire.

The Project Lifesaver program places radio transmitters on someone's wrist or ankle.

Those suffering from Alzheimer's, dementia, Autism, or Down Syndrome can wear them, and if they were to walk away or go missing, could quickly be found.

Emergency teams use an antenna on the car to help locate the area that the missing person is in. Using a receiver, they can then track them down.

They'll be able to locate the transmitter within a 1/2 mile radius.

“About 99 percent of their recoveries or location of the client is within 30 minutes,” said Abshire.

Unlike GPS, there's not dead spots with this technology.

“I'm going to go hide with this and put this to the test,” said Abshire.

We even tested it out ourselves.

Once it was pointed in our direction, the beeps from the receiver got louder, and officials were able to quickly find us a few buildings away within 5 minutes.

Abshire says the system does work.

“I like the fact that you can bring loved ones back home,” said Abshire.

Those, like Joe Burkhardt, are now hoping it will be another tool to help other families the way it has helped his own.

“It's another avenue to assist you in making her life comfortable and our lives, family lives, as comfortable as possible,” said Burkhardt.

For information on how to be part of this project, contact Shelby County 911 Dispatch or Shelby County Emergency Management.

The Shelby County Fiscal Court and Health Department helped to fund this project.

For more on Project Lifesaver, click here.

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