Business develops system to help with Alzheimer's care

Posted at 6:04 PM, Sep 08, 2016
and last updated 2017-03-02 17:38:06-05

According to Texas Department of State Health Services statistics, more than 1.4 million people in Texas take care of their loved ones with Alzheimer's. 

For many people who take care of their loved ones, whether or not their family member will wander off is a very real threat. 

Bobby Saylor has been taking care of his wife for 12 years. 

"When I said for better or worse – that's what I meant," Saylor said. "We’ve been married for 36 years. I’m 71, so half of my life I’ve spent with my wife." 

Saylor said he had to adjust a lot when his wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. 

"She had always managed the home, and I traveled. I had no idea what to do around the house. I didn’t even know how to turn the washing machine on." he said. "I did everything -- I did her make up, I did her nails, I learned how to do hair,"

And another thing Saylor had to learn how to do is prepare himself for when his wife might wander off aimlessly. 

"For a while, when she wandered, we would have a bracelet on her with my number on it," said Saylor. "It had to be used in that stage. They looked at it [the bracelet] and called me up because she couldn’t tell me."

Sometimes a bracelet is not enough. That's why Home Instead Senior Care developed a system to help people find their loved ones.

Cheryl Johnston works at the company and said the system could be a big help for people who care for those with Alzheimer's.

"With Missing Senior Network, you really have a leg up on finding your loved one," Johnston said. "Once your family member is missing, you can activate and they receive notifications so they can start looking for your loved one."

Johnston said the system works like the amber and silver alert systems. She said all you have to do is register your loved one, and if he or she goes missing, you send out an alert that goes to your emergency contacts.

"It makes me happy and very proud to be working here because this is something that is definitely needed," Johnston said. 

While Saylor said he doesn't know if he needs this system just yet - if things go from better to worse - he'll consider it.

 "Anything like that is helpful," he said. We've used a number of electronic tools."

Home Instead also created Prevent Wandering, which provides tips to people who care for their loved ones. 

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