The Need for Project Lifesaver

Over 5,000,000 people in the USA have Alzheimer’s and related disorders. That number will triple by 2050. Well over 50% of these people wander and become lost. A lost person with Alzheimer’s or other dementia represents a critical emergency. They are unaware of their situation, they do not call out for help and do not respond to people calling out to them. Nearly half of them will die and many can become injured or fall victim to predators if they are not located within 24 hours. The number of families and communities experiencing this risk will grow dramatically in the coming years.

If you are not yet touched in some way by Alzheimer’s or a related disorder, chances are you will be within the next several years. You will find it among neighbors, your friend s, co-workers and their families, and perhaps within your own family.

Project Lifesaver forms partnerships with local law enforcement and public safety organizations. Project Lifesaver deploys specially trained teams with the most reliable technology available to quickly locate and return wandering adults and children to their families and caregivers.

Project Lifesaver, a non-profit organization, has become internationally recognized as an aggressive and proven program that saves lives. It is not a registry system. It is an active response to the problem of locating wandering patients before they fall victim to the elements, accidents, or predators.

The Reliable Rescue Program for Wandering Victims of Alzheimer’s and Related Mental Disorders
Endorsed by the National Sheriff’s Association

Project Lifesaver

Monterey County Sheriff’s Office
1200 Aguajito Road, Room 002
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 647-7702

Donations to the program are tax deductible.
Please make checks payable to:

Sheriff’s Advisory Council-Search & Rescue
Mailto: 1200 Aguajito Road, Rm 002 Monterey, CA 93940
Please note “Project Lifesaver” in the memo portion of the check

The reliable rapid-response partnership with law enforcement aiding victims and families suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders such as Down’s Syndrome and Autism

How Project Lifesaver Works

We have combined “tried and true”‘ radio technology with rescue teams from the local community including Law Enforcement and Public Safety officials to build an effective lifesaving system that has proven itself, time and again, to be reliable, responsive, practical and affordable.

People who are part of the Project Lifesaver program wear a personalized wristband that emits a tracking signal. When caregivers notify the local Project Lifesaver agency that the person is missing, a search and rescue team responds to the wanderer’s area and starts searching with the mobile locator tracking system. Search times have been reduced from hours and days to minutes.

The Project Lifesaver wristband is much more than a passive ID bracelet. It is a one-ounce battery-operated wrist transmitter emitting an automatic tracking signal every second, 24 hours a day. The signal is tracked on the ground or in the air over several miles. As each wristband has a unique radio frequency, the Project Lifesaver search team positively locates and identifies the person who has wandered away from home or a care facility.

Technology is Only Half the Story

Project Lifesaver belongs to each community. It’s all about people and partnerships. Local law enforcement, civic groups, businesses and the caregivers join in developing and strengthening all aspects of the program including rescues, fundraising and education within their hometowns and counties.

Project Lifesaver emphasizes relationships between team members and the people who may wander before the need may arise for a rescue. Team members visit the home of the bracelet recipients to install the transmitter and make regular visits to maintain the equipment. Project Lifesaver team members are specially trained, not only in use of the electronic tracking equipment, but especially in the methods to communicate with a person who has Alzheimer’s disease or related disorder. Locating the individual is only part of the mission. The person who is located will be disoriented, anxious, and untrusting. The Project Lifesaver team knows how to approach the person, gain their trust and put them at ease for the trip home.

Saving Lives and Community Resources

A 45 year-old man suffering from a traumatic brain injury became lost and disoriented. A deputy sheriff specially trained and equipped by Project Lifesaver was able to locate the man 1.5 miles from his home within 20 minutes. A traditional search without Project Lifesaver would have normally involved the time (and expense to the tax payers) of up to 264 searchers and 924 man-hours.

An 80 year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease wandered from her home at night. The family contacted Project Lifesaver upon learning she was missing. Two Sheriff’s vehicles equipped with Project Lifesaver equipment arrived on the scene and located the woman lying in a tobacco field. She had wandered in to the field, fell, and could not get up and was found covered with mud. Rescuers reported that a person standing up to 10 feet away would not have noticed her lying there. The helpless woman could have died if not located by the Project Lifesaver team.

A 79 year-old man with Alzheimer’s left his house driving his truck and could not find his way back home. After searching the neighborhood, a police helicopter was called i n with a Project Lifesaver team and equipment. In just 35 minutes, the helicopter located the man using the signal transmitted from his bracelet. He was found 14 miles from his home. Several weeks earlier, before joining Project Lifesaver, he wandered off and was missing 2½ days.