A NEW ‘Guardian Angel’ device has been launched in Saddleworth to help keep safe people who are living with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
The unique wristband was unveiled at Lido House retirement housing in Grotton by members of the Good Deeds Trust committee, as part of their Dementia Buddy project.
The wristband can be worn by a vulnerable person, then if they become lost it can be scanned by any smartphone with the NFC app installed.
This will display the person’s first name and emergency contact details so they can easily and quickly be reunited with their loved ones.
Other ‘Guardian Angel’ wearable items – decided after consultation with carers and families – are bag/zip tags, badges and key rings.
Good Deeds Trust was set up in Wigan by Mark Aldred after his father was diagnosed with dementia, and is now spreading quickly to other boroughs.
Kay Knox, former Mayoress of Oldham, is at the forefront of the committee in Oldham, along with Jim Mcardle, Neville Clayton, and John and Janice Mcardle.
They attended a coffee morning at Lido House to talk to residents about the new technology as they aim to raise awareness and its use across Oldham and Saddleworth.
Kay said: “People have been very receptive so far and are getting on board. We’re trying to raise awareness as much as we can.
“We also hope to set up Dementia friendly coffee mornings and luncheon clubs. There are a lot available on the other side of Oldham so we’re trying to spread that over here a bit more.”
Saddleworth Policing Team were at the launch to support the project, which is being run in partnership with TfGM, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Age UK Oldham, Housing 21, and working with Oldham Council and the NHS.
Jim said: “The police have been excellent and very supportive about the new wristbands.
“The bands have a chip, rather than a battery, so there is no need to worry about charging or changing the battery. They are simple and very effective.”
Neville added: “My parents had dementia and if this had been around then, I would definitely have got them one.”
Delighted to support the project, PC Lee Cullen said: “At the moment if we find someone who’s become lost and is confused but we can’t identify them we have to take a picture and post it online.
“That can be embarrassing and upsetting for the person and the family if it’s posted all over social media.
“This is something discrete which we can use to immediately help and there is nothing revealed that will make the person more vulnerable.
“Just knowing their first name can make such a big difference to making them feel safe and reducing their anxiety while we sort things out.
“We deal with this a lot and it will be a big help to get a quick resolution, and a big time reducer, for us.”
To find out more or purchase a Dementia Buddy item, please call 0161 287 2374 (OIdham) or 01942 888990 (Wigan). Items cost £5 plus postage. For more information go online: www.dementiabuddy.co.uk or find them on social media /dementiabuddy