DARIEN, Conn. -- Darien residents who worry that a family member could wander off can now rest easy thanks to a new program launched by the Darien Police Department.
Project Lifesaver is a national program designed to protect people who may wander away from home due to Alzheimer's disease, dementia, autism or Down syndrome.
People enrolled in the program are given a small transmitter to wear on their wrist or ankle. If the person goes missing, their family or caregivers can alert Darien Police, who will use a locator tracking system that detects the transmitter's tracking signal. The average recovery time is 30 minutes, which is 95 percent less time than standard operations, according to Darien Police.
“This program is a resource that families and caregivers can use to be proactive in assisting their loved ones who are at risk of wandering due to a cognitive condition,” said Lt. John Lawlor.
Dennis Hanlon of the First Congregational Church spearheaded bringing the program to Darien. The Darien Police Department partnered with several town organizations, including Maplewood Senior Living, the Community Fund of Darien, the Darien Police Association and Family Centers, to establish and fund the program in town.
The transmitters are free for all residents of Darien. The funding of the project also provided training for a team of Darien police officers. The training included search and rescue techniques, as well as education on the latest electronic tracking systems. They have also been trained on how to communicate with people who tend to wander, and learned techniques on how to gain the trust of those who may be disoriented or anxious.