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Grant awarded to help keep individuals with Alzheimer’s safe in Kershaw County

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 11:02 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2021 at 6:26 PM EDT
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LUGOFF, S.C. (WIS) - A new grant awarded in Kershaw County will help make it easier to find individuals who are prone to wandering.

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America has awarded grant funding to the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office to launch its new Project Lifesaver program. The grant will provide safety technology to Kershaw County families caring for loved ones with dementia-related illness who are 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. Officials say 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 Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office’s Project Lifesaver program will give caregivers the ability to 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 Kerhsaw County Sheriff’s Office, who then send officers to the wanderer’s location.

Officials say the technology will reduce the average search and rescue time from hours, or even days, to minutes.

“We are thankful for receiving the 2021 Spring Project Lifesaver Grant from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. Project Lifesaver is the premier search and rescue program nationwide, and Kershaw County is blessed to partner with them in saving lives in our community,” said Kershaw County Chief Deputy Steve Knafelc.

“We are very fortunate to receive this grant. Project Lifesaver will be a huge asset toward the additional safety of our citizens with special needs,” said Kershaw County Sheriff Lee Boan.

The $6,000 grant will help fund the startup cost of the equipment used to track and locate wanderers, including transmitters, bands and batteries. Funding will also be used to train deputies.

“The Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office’s Project Lifesaver program is a valuable public safety tool for families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related illnesses,” 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 provide the Kerhsaw County Sheriff’s Office with additional resources to help protect individuals living with dementia.”

Families can choose to enroll in the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office’s Project Lifesaver program by calling the office at 803-425-1512.

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

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