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Cascade Companion Care

If you are expecting a tip about the futures market in silver, I am sorry to disappoint you!  This silver alert may be just as valuable, however.

Most of us are aware of the Amber Alert program, a warning system that alerts citizens and law enforcement about a potential child abduction case, using highway LED displays and widely broadcast media announcements.

The state of Florida has implemented a similar program to respond to reports of memory impaired seniors who are missing.  The Silver Alert program is a partnership with law enforcement, media outlets, and community partners, aimed at quickly finding a wandering or confused senior, especially those who are behind the wheel of a car.  One success story was 84-year old Gisela Petrovia.  When she left her home in her car and did not return, a Silver Alert was issued.  A description of her car and the license plate number was flashed on highway signs with a number to call to report a sighting.  Soon afterwards, a family spotted the car and alerted authorities.  Gisela was disoriented and lost, driving slowly on a freeway with her emergency blinkers on.  Her story had a very happy ending.

Silver Alert Sign

How big is the problem?

According to the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Office, “It is estimated that 59% of people with Alzheimer’s disease will wander and become lost.  Many victims will wander repeatedly.  The dangers to a wanderer are numerous.  If an elderly Alzheimer’s patient is left outside for more than 24 hours, their chance of survival drops to 50% due to the risk of exposure. . . A lost person with Alzheimer’s or a related disease represents a critical medical emergency.”

What can be done to protect a senior who may wander by foot or car? 

*Supervision:  When it becomes clear that a loved one is no longer safe to be left alone, finding trustworthy supervision is essential.  Cascade Companion Care is able to provide sensitive in-home care that ensures a senior’s safety without limiting independence in areas of competence.  We also provide supervision in other settings, such as assisted living centers and rehabilitative centers.  Knowing that a dedicated pair of eyes is overseeing the activities of a confused, disoriented loved one is deeply reassuring.

*Alert “Jewelry”:  Just like the bracelets that alert medical personnel to conditions such as allergies and diabetes, there are bracelets that alert people that a senior has a condition causing cognitive impairment.  A woman in Lake Stevens told us about a kindly Community Transit driver, who recognized that his elderly passenger was confused and disoriented.  He checked her bracelet and notified family members that she had boarded a bus.  They were able to recover her safely.  Check your pharmacy for bracelets and pendants that can be personalized with the information that could be life-saving for your senior.

Alert Jewelry

*High-tech Alerts:  GPS technology has made it possible to provide memory impaired seniors with watches, pendants, or other devices that beam their precise location to emergency responders.  A spouse reported her horror at finding that the husband she was patiently waiting for at the doctor’s office had actually slipped out a back door!  Fortunately, he was wearing a watch equipped with GPS technology that led the police to find him quickly!  In Snohomish County, Project Lifesaver provides a cognitively impaired senior with a one-ounce bracelet that emits a radio signal unique to the wearer.  When a caregiver or family member discovers that a senior has wandered, a call to 911 triggers a rapid response that uses the radio signal to locate the senior, usually in less than an hour!  For information about enrolling in this program, contact

Project Lifesaver Bracelet

If you have concerns about your loved one with memory impairment, please talk with one of our Care Coordinators to see how Cascade Companion Care can assist you in a strategy for safety!