State-of-the-art dementia trackers are available free of charge through the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office thanks to a $150,000 grant.
The DREAM (Dementia Recovery, Education and Management) program offers a high-tech solution to worrying about a loved one with dementia who might wander away. About 10 percent of the residents of The Villages struggle with some form of dementia.
The wrist-watch style tracker is worn by the dementia sufferer and can be set up to include a safe zone, for instance, a house or a yard. When the person with dementia steps out of the safe zone, the caregiver will receive a notification on a smart phone. If the dementia patient has walked down to a postal station, the tracker will provide the location to the caregiver’s phone. If the dementia patient climbs in a car and heads for Tampa, the caregiver will be notified and law enforcement will get involved.
More than 30 of the DREAM tracking devices have been provided to Sumter County residents.
The successful grant was written by Sharon Doncourt of the sheriff’s office. Only five such grants have been awarded in the country.
Deputy Marty Egan is now running the DREAM program for the sheriff’s office. To sign up, call the sheriff’s office at (352) 689-4600.