Pendant tracks dementia patients

Chrissy Maher holds a Wandatrak necklace and bracelet
Chrissy Maher holds a Wandatrak necklace and bracelet

Wanda is helping find missing people with dementia or Alzheimer's disease in Marlborough.

The tracker pendant is worn around the neck or sewn into the coat or handbag of a sufferer and tracks their movements if they are reported missing.

Administration of WandaTrak passed this week from police and Marlborough Land Search and Rescue to advocacy service Alzheimer's Marlborough.

Alzheimer's Marlborough community worker Chrissy Maher said the charity would now hand out the free trackers to patients.

"Police have a lot of work while we can do the administration quickly ourselves," she said. "Police and search and rescue will still be responsible for carrying out searches."

WandaTrak emits an electrical pulse at a specific frequency. When a user goes missing, their frequency is dialled into the tracking unit. The receiver can track the pendant to within a metre from about 700m.

Alzheimer's Marlborough and police keep a database and profile sheet on each person who uses the tracker. Currently seven patients in Marlborough are on the database, according to Alzheimer's Marlborough

Ms Maher said people with dementia and alzheimer's were at risk of wandering off.

The tracker offers patients, their carers and families peace of mind.

WandaTrak costs about $290 for the pendant and $2000 for the receiver. However, Alzheimer's Marlborough is offering it free to sufferers. The only cost is $50 to change the battery twice a year.

People with dementia and Alzheimer's are also encouraged to wear a safe return bracelet which contains a person's name and contact details.

Police communications manager Barbara Dunn would not comment on why there had been an administration change.

The Marlborough Express