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REGION Safety net offered for Alzheimer caregivers



Published: Mon, February 17, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



There's a $40 registration fee for the nationwide program.

By DENISE DICK

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- SCOPE Adult Day Care Center and the Greater Youngstown Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association are offering a safety net for caregivers whose loved ones have the disease.

Caregivers can register their loved one with the national, government-funded Safe Return at the SCOPE center, 1400 Tod Ave. N.W.

The Gift of Love Safe Return program assists in the identification and safe return of Alzheimer's patients and victims of related dementia who may wander from home.

People who sign up will be given a gift box that holds the identification jewelry to present as a gift to a loved one with the disease.

"It's one more safety net for seniors who may wander off," said Tom Clark, SCOPE adult day-care director.

There's a $40 registration fee, which includes an ID bracelet or necklace and iron-on clothing labels, a caregiver checklist, key chain, lapel pin, refrigerator magnet, stickers and wallet cards.

For $5 more, the caregiver will receive jewelry that identifies the person's caregiver.

How this works

The individual with Alzheimer's wears a bracelet or pendant bearing his first name and an 800 number to call. Safe Return representatives access the information and notify the people listed as contacts or emergency personnel.

If a registrant is lost, the program can fax the person's information and photograph to area law enforcement agencies.

Dorothy Barto, program director of the Alzheimer's Association's Greater Youngstown Chapter, said there are more than 400 people from the Youngstown area registered with Safe Return.

People who want to sign up can call the local Alzheimer's office on Boardman-Canfield Road, (330) 533-3300, for an application.

"Just about all Alzheimer's patients do wander," Barto said. "The return rate for people with Safe Return is about 97 percent. The return rate for people without the identification is only about 48 percent."

Because the program is nationwide, it works even if a family is on vacation. The program is a way of providing peace of mind to caregivers, Barto said.

"They can get away in a flash," she said. "They get so disoriented that home doesn't even seem like home anymore and they're searching for something familiar."




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