An Alzheimer's bracelet is a piece of jewelry or electronic device that helps identify a person with Alzheimer's disease if she wanders from home or otherwise becomes lost. This can vary from a specially-engraved identification bracelet to a high-tech device that uses global positioning and alert systems. These bracelets can help return Alzheimer's patients to their homes and help rescuers determine their medical needs rapidly.
A regular identification bracelet that is sold in a jewelry store may be used as an Alzheimer's bracelet. The bracelet should include the patient's name and a contact number. This piece of jewelry may be quite attractive, but it may not draw attention to the fact that it identifies a medical condition. Most drugstores and department stores sell alert tags that identify specific medical conditions.
Individuals can also obtain an Alzheimer's bracelet from the Alzheimer's Association, which offers a “Safe Return” program. This program provides a piece of jewelry that identifies memory impairment as well as other medical conditions, a card with medical and personal information, and access to the response system. Once the alert team is identified that an Alzheimer's patient is missing, it will contact law enforcement agencies and Alzheimer's Association chapters in the area.
Caregivers can also opt to wear a bracelet that identifies them as the guardian of an Alzheimer's patient in the event that they are unable to tend to the patient's needs due to a medical emergency. This program requires an annual fee and regularly updated information. This system can be effective in rescuing a lost patient, but requires activation by either the caregiver or the person who identifies the Alzheimer's patient.
A more high-tech Alzheimer's bracelet option includes a small radio frequency transmitter. The bracelet could be worn around the ankle or the wrist. Once the tracking organization is notified that the patient has gone missing, it can quickly identify the individual's location. These systems often require an enrollment fee and monthly maintenance fees. Also, the device is not immediately recognizable as an Alzheimer's bracelet, which may limit its effectiveness.
A wander alert is the most high-tech version of the Alzheimer's bracelet. This system uses an ankle bracelet that emits a regular frequency to a monitoring device. If the patient moves more than the specified distance from the monitoring station, an alarm sounds and the system dials the caregiver's telephone or pager. These devices often include global position systems (GPS) to pinpoint the Alzheimer's patient's location. These systems sometimes include a monthly fee if GPS tracking is used.