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Tazewell County Sheriff's Office receives grant to expand Project Lifesaver Program
Bluefield Daily Telegraph - 7/21/2021
Jul. 21—Staff report
TAZEWELL, Va. — Tazewell County residents caring for people who are in danger of wandering away due to dementia could receive more local help finding them thanks to a grant going to the Tazewell County Sheriff's Office.
The Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) announced Tuesday that it has awarded grant funding to the Tazewell County Sheriff's Office to its Project Lifesaver program, which provides safety technology to Tazewell County families caring for loved ones with dementia-related illnesses who are prone to wandering.
Wandering is a common and potentially dangerous behavior among individuals with a dementia-related illness, as well as cognitive disorders such as autism, AFA officials said. Someone with a dementia-related illness or cognitive condition who wanders can quickly become disoriented, unable to return to safety or not know how, or who, to call for help.
The Tazewell County Sheriff's Office's Project Lifesaver program allows caregivers to voluntarily register their relative with dementia or autism to wear a small wrist or ankle transmitter that emits an individualized tracking signal. If that person goes missing, the caregiver notifies the Tazewell County Sheriff's Office, who then send officers to the wanderer's location. Project Lifesaver technology reduces the average search and rescue time from hours, or even days, to minutes.
"The Tazewell County Sheriff's Office's Project Lifesaver program is a valuable public safety tool for families affected by Alzheimer's disease and other dementia-related illnesses," said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., President and CEO of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America. "Every family caregiver's number one priority is keeping their loved one safe. We're pleased to provide the Tazewell County Sheriff's Office with additional resources to help protect individuals living with dementia."
Shannon Yost, Project Lifesaver Administrator/Search Specialist for the Tazewell County Sheriff's Office, said, "With grant funding from the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, community fundraisers, and volunteer members of the Sheriff's Office we have been able to provide this important service for free to the citizens of Tazewell County."
The $6,000 grant will enable the Tazewell County Sheriff's Office to purchase additional, necessary equipment such as transmitters, bands and batteries, as well as upgrade and maintain existing equipment. Funds will also help the Sheriff's Office educate families about the program and provide additional support when they need assistance. The Sheriff's office estimates that they can serve an additional 13 families through this grant.
Families can voluntarily enroll in the Tazewell County Sheriff's Office's Project Lifesaver program by calling 276-988-5970, Ext. 155. Those with questions about caring for a loved one with a dementia-related illness or accessing support services can call the Alzheimer's Foundation of America's Helpline at 866-232-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.
AFA is able to provide vital services, like this grant, as a result of the generosity of individual contributions, sponsorships and fundraising activities. To help support these initiatives or learn more about Alzheimer's disease and resources available to help families affected by it, visit www.alzfdn.org.
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