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Elkland Search and Rescue initiative saves time

September 25, 2012

Photo by Gian DeLoia Elkland Search and Rescue Vice President Terry Detsch stands next to one of many rescue vehicles that assist in the location of individuals who suffer from Alzheimer's disease and autism.

ST. MARYS – A rise in the occurrence of cognitive disorders like Alzheimer's disease, dementia and autism has sparked the Elkland Search and Rescue [ESR] team to kick off an initiative designed to better locate individuals who have a tendency to wander.
ESR is taking a proactive stance by asking family members of those affected to also be proactive by filling out a form, "Wanderers Information Sheet," before an incident occurs to act as a tool to help locate the person.
A prepared form can reportedly save the team 30-45 vital minutes in an emergency situation. Each form lists a person's detailed specific information for first responders.
"We want to try and stay ahead of the game," said ESR President Matt Young. "It would help if we can have families prepare the documents and not only just prepare them initially, but maintain them on a six-month basis. It wouldn't hurt to have the families sit down and review the paperwork in case something has changed. Maybe they were talking of how an Alzheimer's patient typically spoke about going home and they want to start looking at some things that happened when they were a child. Where did they live? Where did they go? What places did they frequent when they were a child?
"There are documented cases of Alzheimer's patients walking for miles and miles just to get to a location."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] estimates that an average of one in 88 individuals in the United States have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.

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