Track­ing pen­dant finds de­men­tia suf­fer­ers

Manawatu Guardian - - NEWS - By ASH­LEIGH COL­LIS

A small blue pen­dant is sav­ing lives and bring­ing home loved ones in Horowhenua.

The pen­dant pro­vided by Alzheimer’s Manawatu, is an elec­tronic track­ing sys­tem for at risk peo­ple through­out the com­mu­nity.

Alzheimer’s Manawatu¯ man­ager Donna Hed­ley said the sys­tem saves lives.

“It’s an elec­tronic track­ing sys­tem that uses ra­dio fre­quency, sim­i­lar to track­ing a kiwi in the bush,” she said.

In the past 12 months, there have been eight call­outs to lo­cate miss­ing clients.

Donna said there hadn’t been any­one with a Wan­derSearch pen­dant they haven’t been able to find.

“Our pen­dants aren’t just for those with Alzheimers.

“We have chil­dren with autism wear­ing them, and peo­ple with head in­juries, they are for the whole com­mu­nity, for peo­ple at risk be­com­ing lost,” she said.

Wan­derSearch has a to­tal of 99 pen­dants across Levin, Dan­nevirke and Manawatu¯ .

The pen­dant has a battery life of six months which Donna says is ex­cel­lent for those who can’t re­mem­ber to recharge or re­place bat­ter­ies.

“Wan­derSearch does reg­u­lar op­er­a­tional checks of the pen­dants and man­ages the battery re­place­ments,” she said.

“Re­cently there was a call­out for a lady who went miss­ing in Dan­nevirke who’d dis­ap­peared from a rest home.”

The rest home at­tempted to find her but couldn’t. An hour later they called the po­lice who lo­cated the woman in only 10 min­utes through her Wan­derSearch pen­dant.

Brenda Mor­gan didn’t know she was lost when she went for a three-hour walk.

Her daugh­ter Tina, wor­ried about her, called the po­lice.

When Brenda was found, she didn’t know she was lost, and it was then Tina knew her mum had de­men­tia.

Po­lice re­ferred Tina to Wan­derSearch Manawatu¯ who fit­ted Brenda with a track­ing pen­dant.

Re­cently Brenda dis­ap­peared dur­ing a shop­ping ex­cur­sion. Tina called 111, the po­lice tapped into the track­ing de­vice and found Brenda within 10 min­utes.

Brenda said she was pleased to be wear­ing the pen­dant be­cause it en­abled her to be found.

“I’m pleased I was found, I’d walked a long way.

“I like to walk but you don’t know you’re lost un­til you’re found.”

Tina said the pen­dant had given her a lot more peace of mind. “Without Wan­derSearch it would be a lot harder to care for mum.

“I’d be wor­ry­ing that she’d be out walk­ing and I wouldn’t be able to leave her at all,” Tina said.

De­cem­ber 2015, a de­men­tia pa­tient dis­ap­peared from a Christchurch rest home, but drowned ac­ci­den­tally in a river and was found the fol­low­ing day.

Fe­bru­ary 2016, a Palmer­ston North woman with de­men­tia went miss­ing on her drive home from a ten­nis game; she was found alive in a ditch four days later.

De­cem­ber last year an autis­tic man went miss­ing in Ro­torua and is yet to be found.

Jan­uary this year, a Hamil­ton man with mild de­men­tia went miss­ing and was found de­ceased in a neigh­bour­ing sub­urb a month later.


BRENDA Mor­gan has de­men­tia but is kept safe by her Wan­derSearch tracker worn around her neck.

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