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  • Virtually Hands-free Caregiving?


    The Senior population is increasing exponentially, and along with that is the desire to Age-In-Place. The challenge for many families is finding the ability to coordinate caregiving with family members work schedules. While the options for caregiving continue to expand, insurance coverage seems to be shrinking. Less providers are accepting Medicare and Medicaid due to low reimbursements. Often, families are able to allocate resources to provide for private pay agencies, who typically offer a higher quality of care. But are the other options families can use to supplement in-person caregiving? There are now. Here’s some of the latest options for seniors, and one of them is at no-cost!

    R.U.O.K. is a free program offered through the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office in Massachusetts. Participants in the program will receive a daily phone call from a member of the Sheriff’s Office, simply asking if they are OK. Replies vary, but when a participant doesn’t answer the daily scheduled call, it’s typically been due to Stroke or a fall. The Sheriff’s Office will dispatch help if a participant fails to respond. Communities participating in this are: Attleboro, Dartmouth, Easton, Fall River, Mansfield, New Bedford, North Attleboro, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Somerset, Swansea and Taunton.

    Project Lifesaver is a rapid response program designed to track down individuals who are considered a “wander risk” in the event of an emergency or they go missing. “When families find out about this program, it feels like a boulder lifted off of the family’s shoulders,” said Lt. Fernando Pimentel.

    The Bristol County Sheriff’s Office established the first Search & Rescue Unit (SAR) in the county and use this technology to quickly and safely locate loved ones who have gone missing. Pimentel leads the office’s Project Lifesaver program and helps train other law enforcement personnel throughout the county.

    The one-time cost of the bracelet is $300, plus a $10 fee for battery and strap replacement. Pimentel said many Councils on Aging have begun fundraising to purchase these bracelets for those who may need one. The benefit of this is the bracelets can be re-issued to other individuals as previous users move into assisted living communities or nursing homes, saving costs but still providing life-saving assistance.

    The bracelet’s tracking operates off a radio signal rather than GPS, meaning it is more reliable since it doesn’t require satellite reception. The signal can be picked up as far out as two miles and emits a directional signal, so first responders can focus on a specific direction rather than a general area. This saves precious minutes in locating a loved one.

    Project Lifesaver is currently active and operated by sheriff and police departments in 40 states plus Canada and Australia. In over 1,500 searches, there have been no reported serious injuries or death and the average recovery time is under 30 minutes.

    Please call 508-995-6400 for more information on either program.

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