HOWARD COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Howard County is giving peace of mind to people whose loved ones suffer from dementia or other mental diseases.

Monique Griego has more on the police department’s new way to track those who may wander off.

At 85, Olga Smith is energetic and full of life.  That’s why her daughter Kandi almost couldn’t believe it when doctors diagnosed her with Alzheimer’s in February.

“It was like being slapped in the face because we didn’t see it coming,” she said.

She works full-time and can’t afford in-home care or assisted living.  She says the idea of leaving her mother home alone sends her into a panic. 

“What am I gonna come home to?  Is she going to go wandering around the development?” she said.

So she did some research and found the Howard County police department was the first in the state to use breakthrough bracelet technology.

The Rapid Return Program uses watch-like devices to track lost loved ones who suffer from Alzheimer’s, autism or dementia  It’s an upgrade to Project Lifesaver.  That program used radio transmissions to track people.  These new bracelets work just like a cell phone, which means they can find anyone who’s near a cell phone tower.

Kandi says her mom can’t take the bracelet off on her own, so once it’s charged and on Olga’s wrist, she felt secured.

“Gives me a little more breathing room so I feel comfortable with her having that on,” she said.

In order to qualify for the program, you have to have medical documentation that your family member suffers from one of the qualifying mental diseases.

If you’re interested in joining the program, contact the Howard County police department.


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