The Sumter County Sheriff's Office has been awarded grant funding through the Bureau of Justice Administration to support a new program we are calling the DREAM program or Dementia Recovery, Education, and Management. The grant funding will allow the Sheriff's Office to purchase GPS enabled devices to be provided to people in our community with Alzheimer's or dementia.
The Alzheimer Association predicts that 1 in 10 people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer's or dementia and that 60% of these individuals will exhibit wandering behavior. Sumter County has approximately 16,000 people with Alzheimer's or dementia living in our community. Wandering poses a huge safety concern for people with Alzheimer's or dementia and causes a great deal of stress to caregivers, which is why the Sheriff's Office sought to initiate a program to help the safe recovery of people with Alzheimer's or dementia that may wander from home. Through this grant opportunity, the Sheriff's Office will be able to provide GPS enabled devices to help give caregivers in our community peace of mind about the location and safety of their loved one absolutely free of charge.
The Sumter County Sheriff's Office has partnered with two companies to provide participants in this program with options for their GPS device. Participants in this program will have the option of receiving a GPS-enabled watch offered by Clairvoyant/Theora Care or a smaller GPS-enabled device that can easily be attached to clothing or shoes offered by Jiobit. The Sheriff's Office will work with caretakers and the participant to determine which option best fits their needs and the preference of the participant.
Both devices come with a smartphone application to allow family members or caretakers to monitor their loved one's location and to receive alerts if they leave a safe location. The goal of this program is help improve autonomy of individuals living in our community with Alzheimer's or dementia and to give peace of mind to families and caregivers about the safety of their loved one. These devices give caretakers the ability to locate a family member in case of a wandering event safely. Caretakers will be able to locate family members without the assistance of law enforcement as location information is easily accessible through the accompanying cell phone application. If law enforcement is required to help someone return home safely, our dispatch will be able to access location information to dispatch a deputy to the individual's exact location.
The Sumter County Sheriff's Office will also be partnering with the Alzheimer's Family Organization through this grant opportunity to bring support to caregivers and also provide the most up to date training to our deputies on responding to individuals with Alzheimer's or dementia and their families.
This program is not only for people with dementia. It is also being offered to any family member caring for a child with autism who may be prone to wandering behavior.
The Sumer County Sheriff's Office is committed to helping keep our citizens safe and helping families caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia.