Grover Beach man with Alzheimer’s located thanks to tracking bra - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Grover Beach man with Alzheimer’s located thanks to tracking bracelet

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A 79-year-old Grover Beach man with Alzheimer's was located within an hour after wandering away from his home this week thanks to a Project Lifesaver bracelet that successfully tracked his location.
At around 4 a.m. Monday, Louis Lopez walked away from his home. 

"A million different things run through your mind," said Suzanne Rains, Lopez family member. "It's just absolute terror of the unknown. Where are they, what are they doing, where could they be?"

But four months ago, the family equipped Mr. Lopez with a Project Lifesaver bracelet.

"It transmits a radio frequency that we have special receivers that we can tune into," explained Deputy Joshua Beene, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office.

Because of this, search and rescue crews were able to pick up on Lopez's signal, and he was found in less than an hour, a mile away from his home on someone's front porch.

"He didn't know he was missing, he thought he was at home," said Dep. Beene. "The fact that he had the bracelet on was basically the only reason we were able to find him." 

The waterproof tracker can be worn on the wrist or ankle. Every second, it emits a radio wave specifically assigned to the patient.

"We have special receivers we can tune into, within a mile or two depending on the ground, and we've been training with helicopters and airplanes as well to expand our ability to find people," said Beene. 

Lopez's family says having this bracelet has given them peace of mind.

"To know that you aren't going to be scatter-brained in trying to organize a search on your own, that the sheriff's office is going to help find your loved one possibly within a couple hours as opposed to several hours or even days. I can't say enough how much this will actually save lives," said Rains. 

The sheriff's office says finding the missing person is only part of the mission. Since most are found disoriented, anxious and untrusting, a Project Lifesaver team is brought in to ease that person into coming home.

To learn more about the Project Lifesaver program in San Luis Obispo County, click here.

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