Wristband uses tracking technology to protect wanderers

On Sunday, July 24, a Bath Township man diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease wandered away from his home and was declared missing. For two days police and concerned citizens searched the area with no success. On Tuesday the man was found, disoriented but unharmed. This story had a happy ending. Tragically, many wanderers never return home.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, an estimated 5.4 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's disease during 2011. Many of these people will wander at least once during the course of the disease. Searching for missing persons costs many millions of dollars annually. Often these people are never found.

The city of Rocky River has access to a new technology which locates wanderers in minutes rather than hours or days of searching. Undertaking a search and rescue effort is costly and time consuming. There is a better way.

EmSeeQ is a sturdy steel wristband which requires two people to secure the device to the disabled person. It can't be pried off, yet is comfortable to wear. The EmSeeQ connects directly to the national 911 system when activated. The developers of the device, Jim Nalley and Chris Buehler, wanted an alternative to the widely used GPS tracking system which doesn't work inside buildings or moving vehicles.

Rocky River Police Chief Kelly Stillman was instrumental in securing the EmSeeQ for his city, noting that Rocky River has a rather large senior population. The cost of the unit is $200 plus a $25 monthly fee which the family would pay. Once the initial cost is paid there is no further cost to the city.

The product's manufacturer, EmFinders, donated 15 units to the city as a pilot program and other city service groups have offered to purchase more when needed. The EmSeeQ is only available to Rocky River residents.

The system is simple and cost effective. As soon as a person wanders their caregiver files a missing person report with the local police department and calls EmFinders to activate the EmSeeQ device. Once activated, the device sends a signal with its location to the 911 system. Police can then be dispatched to the location and the individual is usually located within minutes. It's an ideal solution to a serious problem.

Interested municipalities, residential facilities and caregivers can contact the Rocky River Police Department at 441-331-1234; Carole Calladine, Director of the Rocky River Senior Center, at 440-333-6660; or EmFinders directly at 972-439-1960 for further information.

Dianne Borowski

Dianne Borowski lives in Bay Village.

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Volume 3, Issue 18, Posted 4:24 PM, 09.07.2011