FORT PIERCE — The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) has awarded a $6,000 grant to the Fort Pierce Police Department to fund its new Locate Our Seniors Team (LOST).

The grant funding will allow the Fort Pierce Police Department to implement the LOST program in their city to help reduce the number of injuries and deaths of individuals with dementia-related illnesses who are prone to wandering.

“I am so grateful for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America grant award,” said Fort Pierce Police Chief Diane Hobley-Burney. “Their support allows us to initiate our LOST program which helps us to fulfill one of our main goals of assuring the safety of our residents and their loved ones.”

The program is part of Project Lifesaver International which provides safety technology to families caring for a loved one with a dementia-related illness who is 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.

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 LOST 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 Fort Pierce Police Department, 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 Fort Pierce Police Department’s LOST program is a valuable public safety tool for families affected by Alzheimer’s disease,” 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 help the Fort Pierce Police Department provide them with an additional resource to do that.”

The $6,000 grant will be used to purchase necessary equipment, including locative technology, which will aid in finding and rescuing wanderers quicker and ensure their safety.

The Fort Pierce Police Department will partner with two other local law enforcement agencies – the Port St. Lucie Police Department and the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office- who are already Project Lifesaver partners.

Families can voluntarily enroll in the Fort Pierce Police Department’s LOST program by calling 772-467-6800.

Those with questions about caring for a loved one with a dementia-related illness can call the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s Helpline at 866-232-8484 or visit - www.alzfdn.org.

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