Alzheimer's Foundation of America
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | August 22, 2005

Unique Teleconference for Dementia Caregivers to Focus on ‘Wandering'

NEW YORK, NY—Chief Gene Saunders, chief executive officer of Project Lifesaver International, Inc., watches the clock each time he hears that someone with Alzheimer's disease has “wandered.” He knows the difference that five minutes, even one minute can make. That's why Project Lifesaver's technology that can rapidly track people with Alzheimer's disease, autism or related illnesses is so critical.

On September 1, at 9 pm Eastern Time (ET), Saunders will emphasize this urgency when he is the guest speaker during a unique teleconference for caregivers of individuals with dementia.

The free interactive service, called “Care Connection,” links up to 150 caregivers on the phone for an hour at a time to talk about dementia-related issues. Part support group, part educational, the weekly sessions are a mix of professional coaching and guest speakers with plenty of free minutes for Q&As and sharing.

The service is a strategic alliance between the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) and Ask Dr. Jamie; Jamie Rotnofsky, a psychologist and professional life coach, facilitates the teleconferences.

“My goal is to empower caregivers through knowledge, support and inspiration,” said Dr. Jamie. Each month, Care Connection hosts a guest speaker on the first Thursday at 9 pm ET. On the fourth Thursday at 9 pm ET, Dr. Jamie holds a live coaching session. The broadcasts play back on the second Thursday at 6 pm ET and on the third Thursday at 12 pm ET. Caregivers can call in toll-free at 877-AFA-2992; the guest identification number is 271004.

During the upcoming teleconference, Saunders will discuss the prevalence of wandering and critical steps families can take to safeguard loved ones. With Project Lifesaver, individuals wear wristbands that transmit continuous radio signals that can be detected by mobile tracking devices utilized by 450 law enforcement agencies in North America and several foreign countries. Of its 1,100 searches so far, all persons have been found alive and brought home. The average rescue time is less than 30 minutes.

“Wandering poses an enormous threat. Given that, response time makes all the difference,” said Saunders, who also serves on AFA's board of trustees.

Emphasizing this, he noted that a Project Lifesaver unit in Georgia this month took less than 11 minutes to track a man with Alzheimer's disease; he was found unconscious, but alive in his car—which registered 120 degrees. Rescuers doubted the man would have made it had another five minutes elapsed.

AFA and Ask Dr. Jamie introduced Care Connection last spring to assist the increasing number of dementia caregivers. “Care Connection removes some of the isolation factor. For many caregivers, this is their only lifeline,” said Eric J. Hall, AFA's chief executive officer.

In future coaching sessions, Dr. Jamie will explore “My Next Steps” (September 22) and “Creative Expression” (October 27). Upcoming guest speakers will discuss Medicare (October 6) and early detection of dementia (November 3). For more information, visit www.alzfdn.org or www.askdrjamie.net . Corporate sponsors are Fastcomm and Verizon.

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America is a nonprofit organization that focuses on the care needs of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses, and their families, and unites hundreds of member organizations nationwide that provide hands-on support services. For more information, call toll-free 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org .

Ask Dr Jamie is a professional coaching and psychotherapy service that assists individuals and organizations in focusing on doing things differently to achieve real results. Its services include professional education, one-on-one coaching, tele-classes and psychotherapy. For more information, call toll-free 800-927-7930 or visit www.askdrjamie.net .

Contact: Carol Steinberg
Phone: 866-AFA-8484