TYLER, TX (KLTV) - He wandered away from his family a week ago, missing three days before being found dead in a field just blocks from his home. 80 year old Willie Everhart's funeral was Friday, his death showing the importance of finding missing loved ones quickly.
An international program available here in East Texas claims to do just that. Five years ago the Alzheimer's Alliance began offering Project Lifesaver giving caregivers of dementia or Alzheimer's patients some serious peace of mind.
The key to the program lies on the patient's wrist, a watch-like wristband which emits a tracking signal all day, every day.
If the patient goes missing caregivers notify local authorities who organize a search team and begin tracking them with a mobile locator tracking system. Search time is taken from days to minutes with the technology. Project Lifesaver reports the average time it takes to locate users is only 22 minutes, time saved that could save a life.
"The Project Lifesaver program is an extra safeguard that we can provide people," says Jana Humphrey with Smith County Alzheimer's Alliance,"wandering is a major concern for people who have memory loss and 60 percent of the people who have Alzheimer's will wonder at some point."
The lifesaver program is currently available in: Anderson, Cherokee, Gregg, Rusk, Smith, Upshur, and Wood counties. Project Lifesaver has a $275 start up fee and a $10 monthly charge for batteries, but alliance members say scholarships are available for those who qualify.