People suffering from the debilitating affects of Alzheimer’s disease may now be a little bit safer, thanks to a grant that will expand the availability of the Alzheimer’s Association’s MedicAlert and Safe Return program.
MedicAlert and Safe Return is a 24-hour, emergency response service for individuals with Alzheimer’s or related dementia who wander or have a medical emergency. The program uses bracelets with serial numbers for quick identification and recovery of those who wander from home and lose their way.
Senator Jeff Klein was on hand at Providence Rest Nursing Home on Thursday, April 29 to present a $25,000 grant to Alzheimer’s Association’s executive vice president Jed Levine. Currently, about 2,500 Bronx residents are enrolled in the program. Alzheimer’s Association NYC will use Klein’s grant to further educate families about the MedicAlert and Safe Return program, as well as other programs within the association.
“Alzheimer’s disease already creates a stressful, challenging and heartbreaking situation for victims and their families,” said Klein. “As we fight to find a permanent treatment for this debilitating disease, we must support programs such as MedicAlert and Safe Return that help victims and their loved ones survive the day-to-day obstacles.”
At the ceremony at Providence Rest, 45th Precinct police officer John Soto was honored for his work in using the MedicAlert and Safe Return system to help quickly identify a Manhattan woman who had disappeared from her home on April 4 and was found near Middletown Road. Soto was able to quickly identify her with one phone call to the Alzheimer’s Association. Her sister Nellie Evans thanked Senator Klein for seeing the program expanded so more people who go missing can be found.
“My family owes a deep debt of gratitude to so many people who made sure that my sister, Norma, got home safely,” Evans said. “Thank you to Senator Klein for funding Safe Return; to the New York City Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association for administering a program that really saves lives; to the kind and generous good Samaritans who took my sister into the safety of their home; and to the NYPD.You are all heroes.”
Officer Soto said that without the hot line he called, it could taken many hours before a missing person suffering from dementia could be properly identified. “We were able to just flip over the bracelet, read the serial number, and the calls were forwarded to her family,” Soto said. Many feel that the program will fill a critical need in the future.
“As our baby boomers age, the number of people in the general population afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia will increase exponentially,” said Susan Steinberg, assistant administrator at Providence Rest. “This program is an effective response, both in cost and quality, to keep our wanderers safe from harm today and tomorrow.Senator Klein was certainly thinking ahead when he secured this grant for the Alzheimer’s Association.”