Tracker pendant found in van

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 07:33 03/02/2014
Terry Stevens
Alzheimers search team member Terry Stevens and Police Search and Rescue co-ordinator Constable Nigel Young
pendant
A pendant worn by Alzheimers patients which tracks their location using a receiver.

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A pendant used to track lost Alzheimer's patients was found in a van in Blenheim after an elderly patient furtively dumped it on a trip to the supermarket with her husband.

A crew of Marlborough land search and rescue volunteers searched for the pendant about three weeks ago after the woman's husband discovered the pendant was missing.

Alzheimer's search group co-ordinator Russell Montgomery said there are 11 people in Blenheim with a pendant.

"Some Alzheimer's patients are very accepting of wearing the pendants but others aren't and try to get rid of them at any opportunity," Mr Montgomery said.

The device, called WandaTrak, puts out a signal which is picked up by a receiver operated by the Alzheimer's search group.

Each pendant costs about $290 while the receiver costs about $2000. The receiver can track the pendant to within a metre of its location from about 700m, sometimes further if operated on higher ground.

Four of the 12 members of the Alzheimer's search group had another crack at finding the pendant last week.

The crew got a signal while they were on the High St bridge, but the receiver only shows the direction the pendant is in, and not how far away it is.

They split into two teams and came from opposite directions to narrow down the location.

The team traipsed through five properties and found the pendant in a van on Lawrence Pl. The van's owner had picked it up from a gutter on Maxwell Rd not knowing what it was, Mr Montgomery said.

The pendants are expensive and cost money to maintain, but they did work, he said.

"We were obviously rapt to find it, because they do cost money and finding it helps the family out heaps."

It was the second time a pendant had been lost locally, after another Alzheimer's patient flushed their pendant down a toilet at a Blenheim rest home in 2012.

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- The Marlborough Express

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