Deerfield Beach, Florida -- According to the Alzheimer's Association, six in 10 people with dementia wander off at some time. They may not remember where they are, their names or contact information, creating a dangerous scenario for themselves and a worrisome situation for their caregivers. The good news is that Broward Health North’s Memory Disorder Center is now providing Scent Preservation Kits® to help first responders and specially trained Scent Evidence Canines to quickly locate Alzheimer’s and dementia patients who are at high risk for wandering.
In spring 2020, Broward Health North was among memory disorder clinics around the state to be selected by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and Scent Evidence K9 to distribute kits free of charge to caregivers of those living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias. The tested and proven Scent Preservation Kit preserves a person's unique scent for up to 10 years and is an effective tool for law enforcement and trained canines to locate lost patients suffering from memory disorders and return them safely home. The tracking system also is being deployed with caregivers of patients on the autism spectrum.
According to Thomas Crum, Ph.D., a board certified clinical neuropsychologist at Broward Health North, the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened demand for the tracking system.
“As Florida seniors stay at home to limit their risk of exposure to COVID-19, those suffering from dementia may have an increased tendency to wander and become lost,” said Crum. “Our Memory Disorder Center is proud to take proactive safety measures that not only provide peace of mind for families, but also assist community leaders and local law enforcement agencies to better serve the high-risk dementia population.”
A person’s smell is as unique as a fingerprint. The Scent Preservation Kit collects a person’s odor from sweat glands and preserves it in a specially treated jar for as long as 10 years.
“We call our kits, ‘Peace of Mind in a Jar’,” said Paul Coley, founder and CEO of Scent Evidence K9. “As a former FBI forensic canine operations specialist and canine handler, I was constantly faced with the challenge of finding an effective scent article during active searches. My solution was to develop the scientifically tested and proven Scent Preservation Kit. These kits provide K9 responders with uncontaminated scent articles that significantly reduce the time it takes to locate someone.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than five million Americans currently are living with Alzheimer's, and the number is projected to reach 14 million by 2050. In Florida alone, the number of adults diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is expected to grow from 580,000 in 2020 to 720,000 in 2025.
Memory disorders can have various causes including Alzheimer’s disease, nutritional or metabolic disorders, mood and anxiety issues, stroke and other neurological conditions. Every family member is affected by a memory disorder diagnosis, with caregivers typically bearing most of the stress.
Broward Health North’s Memory Disorder Center is an outpatient diagnostic facility comprised of a team of specialists including neurologists, neuropsychologists, geriatric psychiatrists, social workers and nurses who provide a comprehensive, multidisciplinary diagnostic evaluation. Upon completion of the diagnostic process, patients and caregivers meet with the neurologist and members of the team to discuss diagnosis, available resources and caregiving.
To register for one of Broward Health North’s Care Assistance Programs or for additional information, please call the Memory Disorder Center at 954-786-7392.