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Spreading Awareness About Monitoring Programs For Wanderers

August 21, 2009
While big picture issues dominate the talk about health care reform in Washington DC, local municipalities are debating changes in the trenches. In Indiana, for example, the current question in the state legislature is whether people with dementia should be required to wear GPS wristbands—the battery-operated transmitters that make for easy tracking by public safety agencies when the wearer wanders—or if the state should instead simply make people more aware of the benefits of the program and encourage more voluntary enrollment. Project Lifesaver, for instance, is a voluntary program that covers 15 areas of the state. Police or fire agencies pay about $7,000 to join the program. The wristbands average $300 each for individuals to buy, but some departments cover the costs thanks to donations. For many caregivers, even the full amount is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes from knowing a missing loved one can be found and returned home safe.