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Project Lifesaver International Receives Federal Assistance for the Missing Alzheimer's Patient Assistance Program

Thursday, September 17, 2009 General News J E 4
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Project Lifesaver Accepts $890,000 For Education, Awareness, Equipment and Public Policy Efforts to Help Save Lives of Individuals With Alzheimer's Disease Who Wander

CHESAPEAKE, Va., Sept. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Project Lifesaver International, a non-profit organization that helps rescue citizens who are prone to wander due to Alzheimer's disease, autism, and other cognitive disorders, received notification of federal assistance yesterday. The U.S. Department of Justice - Office of Justice Programs - Bureau of Justice Assistance has awarded Project Lifesaver, who is partnering with the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, grant funding in the amount of $890,000. This funding will assist in education, awareness, equipment and public policy efforts to help expand the lifesaving program across the country - directly helping individuals, living with Alzheimer's disease, who wander.

The award will help fund the Missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Assistance Program - an initiative that seeks to: 1) Develop and enhance an outreach program to increase awareness among law enforcement agencies and the public in addressing the needs of people with Alzheimer's disease that wander; 2) To provide training and informational material to law enforcement agencies through a regional or national initiative; 3) Support the development of a public policy that can be implemented nationwide by law enforcement; and 4) Develop a process for aiding in the location of lost persons with Alzheimer's disease.

Gene Saunders, Chief Executive Officer of Project Lifesaver, stated, "Project Lifesaver constantly works with local agencies and supporters to bring this program to public safety agencies across the country to protect some of society's most vulnerable citizens. We are honored to receive this award."

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as many as 2.4 to 4.5 million Americans currently have Alzheimer's disease, which is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that destroys memory and intellectual function. Over a period of years, the disease leads to the complete loss of cognitive function and a long period of dependency. Experts estimate that nearly 60% of individuals with Alzheimer's disease will wander at some point during the eight year progression of the disease - many of them, repeatedly. The incidence of Alzheimer's disease is expected to rise significantly as the nation's population ages and life expectancies lengthen, and given that almost 80% of dementia care is provided in the home by family caregivers, in the years to come, Alzheimer's disease and related dementias will pose immense financial, physical and emotional challenges for growing numbers of American families and their communities.

Project Lifesaver is the only certified training program in the country for public safety agencies to help those with cognitive conditions who wander. Individuals with cognitive conditions that wander who are enrolled in the program wear a personalized, LoJack SafetyNet, wrist-watch sized radio transmitter that allows first responders to rapidly locate them. Rescue personnel receive specialized training from Project Lifesaver, not only on how to operate the tracking equipment but also on key techniques to address behavioral/communication challenges specific to citizens with cognitive conditions--a skill critical to gaining the missing person's trust and facilitating a safe escort home.

Nationwide, over 1,000 law enforcement agencies are members of Project Lifesaver, which boasts an average find-time of 30 minutes, nearly 2,000 successful searches to date, and a 100% success rate. Since the national average for standard search and recovery missions is 9 hours, this high program efficacy dramatically cuts taxpayer dollars spent on search and rescue, frees up officers for other assignments, and saves lives.

For more information, please visit www.projectlifesaver.org or call 877-580-LIFE.

SOURCE Project Lifesaver International
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