Logan CrawfordFeb 1, 2018, 11:06 pmFeb 5, 2018, 7:06 pm

Senate approves anti-wandering bill that aims to keep track of Alzheimer's patients

Advocates say GPS technology can be used to save lives


MINEOLA — Medical experts and advocates of those who suffer from Alzheimer's disease say being able to use GPS to find a lost patient could save a life.

After Andrew Falzon's father Fred wandered off from his assisted living facility last July in Westbury and was found safe 36 hours later in the woods, many are advocating for the use of GPS technology to keep Alzheimer’s patients safe.

"It is absolutely devastating as a son when you walk 200 feet into the woods and find your father lying face up in a ditch," Falzon said. Fred was found through search and rescue, but Falzon says GPS tracking could prevent future tragedies.

At NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America addressed the importance of new legislation which would provide $10 million in funding to give local law enforcement special training while giving families GPS tracking devices for their loved ones with Alzheimer's.

"This is a life-saving matter, and it's important that our government steps up on any level to provide the necessary funding and resources to the first responders," Alzheimer's Foundation of America Charles Fuschillo said.

Doctors say 6 out of 10 people with dementia will wander and possibly become lost and face injury or death, and the New York State Police say GPS trackers could help bring those lost loved ones back.

The Senate has already approved the anti-wandering bill, known as "Kevin and Avonte's Law." Advocates hope the House will do the same.

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