Apr 5, 2011

Alzheimer's Man Wanders, Meanders, and Goes Astray

Alzheimer's wanderer wanders, then wanders, then wanders. Once 21 miles from home, on foot...
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Man Wanders
Alzheimer's and Wandering
This is an interesting story. California man, James Seals, who suffers from Alzheimer's goes to Texas to meet his new infant granddaughter. A known wanderer, he goes out for a walk and gets lost. He flags down a cop who figures out that he has a locator bracelet on. Calls in and they figure out where he should be.

End of story? Not exactly.

In a previous wandering episode Mr. Seals was finally located after being lost for nine hours. End of story? Not exactly, he was found 21 miles from home. He walked by the way.

End of story? No. He is a serial wanderer.

You can read the story below which I found, well, fascinating.

I would be interested in your comments and reactions. Please use the Add New Comment section down below the end of the article.

A 73-year-old man with Alzheimer's disease is now safely back in the care of his family in the Pearland area thanks to the quick action of the Pearland Police Department and the help of a wearable locator device called EmSeeQ® that rapidly locates missing individuals.

On Wednesday, California resident James Seals, who was in town to visit his daughter's family and meet his new infant granddaughter, was out for his routine morning walk on his usual route. When he didn't return in 10 minutes, his wife Cecilia became concerned and set out to look for him.
"James has always loved walking and tends to become agitated if he's not able to go out," Mrs. Seals said. "We usually only let him go for a very short time – 10 minutes at most – and if he's not back in that time, we go out after him."

Mr. Seals had become confused and veered off his regular route. Unfamiliar with the area and unable to find his way back home, he flagged down Pearland PD Officer Gabriel Cortes, who was on patrol in the vicinity. Mr. Seals was unable to provide an address or phone numbers for family or friends in the area.

Officer Cortes discovered Mr. Seals' EmSeeQ bracelet, a watch-like locator device that uses cellular signal triangulation to quickly and accurately locate individuals who become lost or wander off - a common situation with Alzheimer's patients, as well as children with autism who are prone to running away.

Officer Cortes asked dispatchers to call the toll-free number on the bracelet and they were immediately connected with EmFinders, makers of the life-saving system. EmFinders' operators were able to contact Mrs. Seals right away and provide her with her husband's exact location. Mr. Seals was reunited his family within 30 minutes of being discovered missing.

"The officer on the scene was unfamiliar with the EmSeeQ device, but I'm so grateful they were able to contact EmFinders to alert me to his location," Mrs. Seals said. "It all happened so quickly. He wasn't gone for more than 25 minutes total, which seems like a very long time when your loved one is missing, but it's nothing compared to previous situations we've been in."

Mr. Seals has a history of wandering off, which is what prompted Mrs. Seals to purchase the EmSeeQ system, consisting of a secure, unobtrusive bracelet and a round-the-clock location service that carries a monthly fee.

Just a few months ago, Mr. Seals disappeared for nine hours, having walked from Long Beach, Calif., where the Seals had been visiting his brother, an astounding 21 miles to Hermosa Beach. The Seals were fortunate he was recovered without injury by the Long Beach Police Department, who recommended the EmSeeQ system to Mrs. Seals.

The next day she ordered the device. They went several weeks without incident until about three weeks ago when Mr. Seals walked away again, this time from his own home while Mrs. Seals was away for a doctor's appointment. In less than 35 minutes from the time she discovered and reported him missing, Mr. Seals was back at home in his wife's care.

"The EmSeeQ system has already proven itself to be a real lifesaver for us, and I highly recommend it to anyone who cares for an individual with Alzheimer's," Mrs. Seals said. "It definitely allows my husband to maintain his independence and relieves some of the worry I have about him becoming lost."

Wandering behavior occurs in about 60 percent of individuals with Alzheimer's and is a source of constant worry and stress among caregivers who fear letting their loved one out of their sight for even just a moment. Each year, numerous elopement cases involving Alzheimer's patients end in serious injury due to falls or exposure to the elements, or even death. Some go missing for weeks or months at a time, often to a tragic conclusion.

Rose Carter, marketing director for EmFinders, says this most recent incident with Mr. Seals is a somewhat an unconventional, albeit completely effective, use of the EmSeeQ technology. Typically, the device is engaged when a caregiver reports the individual missing and contacts EmFinders to activate the device. The bracelet then places a cellular call to the local 911 emergency response center, which uses the nationwide U-TDOA triangulation technology to accurately determine the wearer's location.

"It's really intended to be activated on demand, but the fact that Officer Cortes discovered Mr. Seals bracelet and called our operations center is definitely a blessing," Carter said. "Regardless of the methods used, we're very relieved to know that Mr. Seals is safe. This technology is specifically designed to provide that added layer of security and peace of mind, which it has on several occasions for Mr. and Mrs. Seals."

Because of its nationwide coverage, EmSeeQ works anywhere there is a cell phone signal, even inside buildings or in environments that would typically interfere with standard GPS locators. The system has been used to locate and rescue numerous individuals in California, New York, Texas and Virginia, allowing them to be safely returned within minutes to the care of their loved ones.

The wristwatch-style EmSeeQ device is discrete, yet secure, providing much-needed and affordable peace of mind to caregivers. The EmSeeQ bracelet is available in two different styles: a watchband-type device with a traditional buckle, and a clasp-style that requires two hands to remove for added security. The location service costs just $25 per month, less than the cost of most typical cellular telephone services.

For more information about the EmSeeQ device, visit www.emfinders.com.

About EmFinders
EmFinders, based in Frisco, TX, is a new technology company that has developed a device and subscription service for locating people with Alzheimer's or other impaired adults and children who wander and become lost. The wearable device and locator service uses advanced cellular technology to locate lost individuals, even if they wander inside a building, under a structure or just about anywhere. The device becomes activated on remote command and the locator service works in coordination with emergency responders. EmFinders is a privately held subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation attributed to the Liberty Capital group (NASDAQ: LCAPA), which owns a broad range of electronic retailing, media, communications and entertainment businesses. For more information, visit www.emfinders.com.
SOURCE EmFinders

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 2,390 articles with more than 272,100 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room