GROTON, Conn. (WTNH) – Thrive 55+ in Groton has a lot of programs for seniors and others in the town. They are kicking off a program on Friday, which they say can help save lives.
It’s a small gray circular device that can be worn on the wrist, ankle, or clothing.
Mary Jo Riley shows News 8 the plastic device which is part of Project Lifesaver, a program designed to help find people who wander.
“So it could be someone with dementia, a child with autism but the fact is they wander away from safe places,” said Mary Jo Riley of Thrive 55+ Active Living Center: Powered by the Groton Senior Center.
Folks at Thrive 55+ teamed up with Groton police who came up with the idea of getting Project Lifesaver after one woman wandered away from Thrive 55+ and another wandered away from her home.
“It was a total of about forty minutes in 30-degree weather and that event alone got me thinking how can we speed this up?” said Groton Police officer Sean O’Brien.
The device is about the same size as other devices like a watch. There are straps so you can put them on your wrist. You can also put it on a belt or loop a shoelace through it.
The device sends out a radio signal which is then picked up by equipment police have. Groton will be the only ones in eastern Connecticut with that equipment but can share it with neighboring towns if needed.
“When we respond to the scene we literally take an antenna out of the car handheld,” said O’Brien.
They can then track down the signal from the device and the person wearing it.
Police in other parts of the state like Newington already use the system which has proven helpful in finding people quickly.
“That’s the big thing with people that wander is being able to find them quickly,” said Riely.
Each device costs $350. Thrive 55+ has raised enough money to buy ten of them as well as the equipment and training for police.
It is hoping someday all insurance companies will cover the cost.
“It’s durable medical equipment that it falls under,” said Riley.