KPD to offer bracelets for Alzheimer's patients

With an ideal climate and location, Kingman is an attractive destination for senior citizens to permanently or temporarily reside.

To help with keeping better track of seniors suffering from Alzheimer's disease who may wander off, the Kingman Police Department has ordered identification bracelets for patients suffering from the fatal disease.

Sixty identification bracelets, 30 for women and 30 for men, have been ordered and are expected in several weeks, according to KPD Cpl.

Tracie McKnight.

The bracelets will have a client number and KPD's non-emergency phone number.

The men's bracelets are larger than the women's.

Both will have the words 'memory impaired' stamped on the front for easy identification.

The police department will have detailed information on each patient such as name, address, physical description, medical condition, caretaker and relative information.

A picture of the patient will also be on file, McKnight said.

The bracelets should help the police departments in keeping track of missing patients who wander off from a caregiver.

"This will be a useful tool for us," McKnight said.

The bracelets are based on a similar program run by Lake Havasu City Police Department.

KPD may distribute the bracelets to nursing homes, medical clinics or at Kingman Regional Medical Center, she said.

The bracelets were donated and additional orders of bracelets would depend on future donations, McKnight said.

In recent weeks, several Alzheimer's patients have wandered away from nursing homes.

Alzheimer's is a disease of the brain that causes a steady decline of memory resulting in dementia.

It affects about 10 percent of the seniors 65 years old and 50 percent of seniors 85 years old and older.

About 4 million Americans are believed to have the disease.

Alzheimer's starts out gradually with forgetting recent tasks and eventually causes people to be unable to care for themselves.

There is no cure.

Symptoms of the disease are no longer recognizing familiar people or places.

One of the biggest concerns for caretakers is the wandering of a patient.

Wandering can be aimless or be a purposeful roaming that can cause a person to become lost in unfamiliar places.

Lisa Kelly, facilitator with the Alzheimer's support group at the Kingman Regional Medical Center said there is a similar program in place called Safe Return, where a caregiver can register a patient with a national registry and receive a bracelet or necklace.

Safe Return, which started around 1998, costs a one-time fee of $40.

"It will be nicer to have this locally," Kelly said.

"It's better to have a local number."

Kelly said Safe Return is for any patient with dementia not just Alzheimer's, however Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia.

For more information about the bracelets call KPD at 753-2191.