Woodford County EMA uses special tool to track people living with Alzheimer’s

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ROANOKE, Ill. (WMBD) — In the spirit of World Alzheimer’s Day, Woodford County emergency management is bringing to light the importance of finding those who may go wandering.

The Care Trak Bracelet is about the size of a watch, but it means the world to those living with Alzheimer’s. Emergency management has technology that tracks down people with Alzheimer’s. The bracelet is used worldwide and found it’s way to the county back in 2016.

EMA Director Kent McCanless explained the approval process.

“I’ll go out ahead of time and interview the family and make sure that they are a candidate for the program. Then once they get a bracelet, I have to go out every 60 days and change the batteries,” said McCanless.

Since adopting the program, crews have been called out for rescues more than 20 times.

“We have actually had to go out and search many times, and the program itself has a 100 percent success rate nationwide, so it is a great program,” said McCanless.

Chief Care Trak Officer Ben Wagner said the hardware works better than GPS. The bracelet signal can be picked up anywhere thanks to a small device called a “puck.”

“When you get into a metal building or dense foliage, the signal can be degraded and maybe lost even, the GPS fails,” said Wagner. “With cell phone trackers, if you’re out of cell phone service, then you’re not gonna be able to track that individual as well, with this being radio frequency, it works all the time.”

Wagner said he wants the best outcome for everyone in his community.

“I had a grandfather with Alzheimer’s and although he never wandered, I wanted to put my heart into this to give other families peace of mind,” said Wagner.

About 10 people in the county use the service and it’s no cost to the family. The cost of the bracelet to the county is $300.

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