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THURSDAY, JANUARY 18, 2007
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Alzheimer's patient gets tracking bracelet

By Seth Burkett
sburkett@decaturdaily.com 340-2355

Robert Fricks of Falkville said he hopes there's never a need for the bracelet on his mother's arm. But it's better to be safe than sorry, he said.

His mother, 75-year-old
Louise Fricks, suffers from Alzheimer's.

Sheriff Greg Bartlett went to her home Tuesday to outfit her with the first transmitter issued in Morgan County through Project Lifesaver.

The project, sponsored by the Decatur Pilot Club, aims at preventing those with mental illnesses from becoming hopelessly lost, should they wander from home.

A button-size transmitter inside the bracelet puts out a signal police can pick up by using special receivers to home in on the location of the missing person.

Project Lifesaver touts a 100-percent success rate.

Finds are usually made within a half hour, which often means recovering to the missing person before exposure to the elements turns deadly.

Disoriented

Fricks said his mother once became disoriented and wandered into the schoolyard across the street from her home.

"Our two kids saw her out there and asked her what was wrong, what she was doing, and she said, 'I don't know,' " Fricks said.

"She's gotten to where she pretty well wants to stay in the house all the time, but there's always going to be that next time," he said.

Fricks said he had to explain the bracelet's purpose to his mom several times, but that so far, she didn't seem to have any objection to wearing it.

"We told her there might come a time when we might need to find you, and that'll help them find you, and she said, 'That sounds like a good
thing,' " Fricks said.

"I'd advise anybody to apply for one. I believe it's a very good idea," he said.

Contact the Morgan County Sheriff's Office at 351-4800 or Decatur police at 341-4660 for more information on having a loved one fitted with a bracelet.

Cost

The bracelets cost about $280, but grants are available to those who qualify.

Donations to the cause may be mailed to the Pilot Club, P.O. Box 2441, Decatur, AL 35602.

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