Bedford deputies credit tracking equipment with saving dementia patient's life

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BEDFORD, Va. (WDBJ7) A quick stop at an apartment complex on Randolph Street in Bedford led to a long and scary afternoon for one woman Tuesday.

According to sheriff's deputies, the woman walked up to an apartment door to speak with a friend and left her husband in the car.

She was only gone for a few seconds. When she returned to the car her husband, who has dementia, was gone.

"When they have dementia and Alzheimer's, they don't realize that they have wandered off," said Captain Tim Hayden of the Bedford County Sheriff's Office.

The man, who's 80, did the same thing a few weeks earlier and had to be hospitalized.

After that incident deputies outfitted him with a bracelet. The device allowed Captain Tim Hayden and his team to locate the man within a few hours after he went missing Tuesday.

He was behind a house in some thick briers," said Hayden, who doubts the man would have been found without the bracelet.

The equipment is part of a program called Project Lifesaver. Participating agencies like the Bedford County Sheriff's Office have several tracking devices, which can be used to locate a transmitter inside bracelets like the one the missing man was wearing Tuesday.

Hayden told WDBJ7 the equipment saved time, manpower, and the missing man's life.

"He was dehydrated and exhausted," Hayden said. "If he had laid there overnight I don't want to think what the outcome would have been."

Most law enforcement and rescue agencies in our region participate in Project Lifesaver. The equipment is most often used with dementia and Alzheimer's patients, but Hayden said it is also helpful in locating children with autism and other conditions.

If you live in Bedford County and would like to participate in the program, contact the sheriff's office at (540) 586-4800.



 
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