The Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency’s Project Lifesaver team quickly found a missing 82-year-old East Boothbay woman Wednesday, May 27. The search was the first of its kind for the county’s Project Lifesaver program.
The six-member team found the woman unharmed in woods near her home. She had wandered away around 11 a.m.
The county’s Project Lifesaver team has been operational since summer 2018. The program provides wristbands that emit FM radio signals to “individuals who are prone to the life-threatening behavior of wandering,” according to the project’s website. This includes people with Alzheimer’s disease, autism, dementia, and other cognitive disorders and impairments.
Melissa Temple, deputy director of Lincoln County EMA, participated in the search and said the team located the woman about six minutes after arriving in the area.
“Thankfully she was all safe,” Temple said. “Her husband was just so thankful.”
There are four Project Lifesaver participants in Lincoln County, two children and two adults. Temple said they have become “like family” to her and others on the Lincoln County Project Lifesaver team, who meet with each participant every 60 days to replace the batteries that power their wristbands.
Temple hopes more caregivers will enroll their loved ones in the coming weeks and months, and noted that Lincoln County has the oldest population in the country’s oldest state.
“We know that there is more of a need for this,” Temple said. “But for the older members, giving up that freedom is sometimes really hard.”
The program is free, funded primarily through grants.