Marjorie Moulton

High-tech wristbands help caregivers track loved ones with dementia, autism or Down syndrome

A new program available in Greater Victoria takes a high-tech approach to help people caring for loved ones with dementia, autism or Down syndrome.Project Lifesaver of Greater Victoria, delivered through the We Rage We Weep Alzheimer Foundation, is offering peace of mind in the form of radio tracking services for those prone to wandering.“We want to get the word out that funding is available. If there are any families or friends who know a neighbour who might be prone to wandering, we can help them out with this program,” said David Rittenhouse, co-director of Project Lifesaver, which recently had a $7,100 infusion of cash from the Victoria Foundation.“Wandering is a very dangerous behaviour for anyone with Alzheimer’s.”Project Lifesaver uses wrist or ankle bands equipped with VHF directional location radio technology, developed in Victoria and first used to monitor wildlife, that has a maximum tracking distance of two kilometres. The program started 12 years ago in Virginia and has grown to include 1,200 communities across North America.Before the service was operating in Greater Victoria, Rittenhouse was a sales associate for the developer of wildlife ID bands. He saw how successful the program was elsewhere and took the initiative to bring the service to his own hometown. In Greater Victoria, Rittenhouse has teamed up with Marjorie Moulton, executive director of We Rage We Weep.Moulton founded that charity five years ago after several family members were diagnosed with dementia. She remembers phone calls from distressed people whose loved ones had gotten lost.“Often people don’t know where to start looking,” Moulton said, “They’re very panicky.”In the three years the tracking program has been available in this region, Project Lifesaver has conducted six searches for people who have wandered away from their caregivers. Each has been successful, with the average search time running 30 minutes. The financial support for the program will allow as many as 20 wander-prone clients to be fitted with the $300 wrist bands for free. And that gives Moulton a sense of relief, especially during the coldest months of the year.“One of the big challenges that search and rescue and law enforcement have with locating people who have Alzheimer’s is that, when you call out their name, in many instances they may be unresponsive,” Rittenhouse said, noting it’s common for someone to wander or fall where they’re hard to see, such as into shrubs or a forest.Another concern is that dementia patients often walk away from their homes clad in little more than a housecoat and slippers, leaving them vulnerable to the elements. “For family caregivers (knowing their location) really gives peace of mind, especially with the cold snap that we’re having right now,” Rittenhouse added. “They can be found quickly and returned back to safety.”nnorth@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Greater Victoria-based digital crisis line sees spike in chats

Service allows youth to chat with volunteers through instant messaging services, text message

UVic chemist claims international prize for ‘reversible’ preservative

University of Victoria green chemist and civil engineer Heather Buckley led a… Continue reading

Impaired driver crashes into Victoria police vehicle, injures officer

Cook Street collision occured in the early morning hours of Tuesday

Get ready for the 39th annual Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon

Up to 9,000 particpants are anticipated for this year’s three-day race weekend

Victoria police say explicit calls continue to target women

Over 50 reports of unwanted, sexually explicit calls have come in

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

Saanich mayor and council will usher in new year with a pay cut

Saanich council to wait and see what other cities do with federal changes to tax exemption

Women-owned businesses generate $68,000 less revenue than men’s: survey

When Dionne Laslo-Baker sought a bank loan to expand her burgeoning organic popsicle and freezies business in 2014, she was “shocked” by the feedback she received from one of the bankers.

Hedley frontman’s alleged sex offences case returns to court

Jacob Hoggard faces three sexual assault-related charges will return to a Toronto courtroom this morning.

Climate change likely to cause more sewage leaks, says environment minister

More than one hundred municipal wastewater systems did not report how much raw sewage overflowed from their pipes in 2017.

Priests molested 1,000 children in Pennsylvania, report says

The “real number” of abused children and abusive priests might be higher since some secret church records were lost and some victims never came forward.

Defiant as Trump rages, Omarosa says she won’t be silenced

Manigault Newman declared she will not be silenced by President Donald Trump, remaining defiant as her public feud with her former boss shifted from a war of words to a possible legal battle.

Death toll hits 39 in Italy bridge collapse; blame begins

The collapse of the Morandi Bridge sent dozens of cars and three trucks plunging as much as 45 metres (150 feet) to the ground Tuesday.

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Most Read