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Miles for Memories tracking wristbands available to seniors

News Photo by Darby Hinkley Alpena Senior Citizens Center Director Annie Hepburn, left, and Program Manager BJ Sander, right, model their Miles for Memories wristbands.

ALPENA — Alpena County seniors will soon have access to Miles for Memories tracking wristbands to help with location services and emergency medical information in case of a crisis.

Miles for Memories is part of the Alpena Senior Citizens Center’s dementia programs, made possible through the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

“Our long-term goal is to make Alpena County dementia-safe and friendly,” said Annie Hepburn, director of the Alpena Senior Citizens Center. “We have partnered with many organizations in our community, such as the hospital, such as 911 dispatchers, Alpena Fire EMTs, Alpena Police, Alpena Sheriff, and Michigan State Police.”

The senior center and community partners are seeking to inform the community about the Miles for Memories program and wristbands, which sync up to an app that stores personal and medical information that is easily accessible by scanning a QR code on the back of the wristband using a smartphone.

The team working together on bringing this project forward is called DREAM, which stands for Dementia, Resources, Education, Advocacy, and Mentorship, said BJ Sander, senior center program manager.

“Miles for Memories is a tracking device to help those people with dementia, to keep them safe,” Sander explained. “So the caregiver has less stress, and the police have less stress, because if people are wearing them, and they find them, then they can scan the back of it and get the information that they need to get that person home safely.”

“When somebody’s bracelet gets scanned, it also alerts their emergency contact person on their cell phone,” Hepburn added.

“We just went through an eight-hour training to talk about how this will work,” Sander said. “And I can tell you, the police department, the sheriff’s department, 911, the fire department, everybody that’s part of our DREAM Team that was in that training that day, are super pumped up about this program, to bring this into our community, because it’s so desperately needed.”

On March 14 and 15, from 1 to 3 p.m., people are able to come, by appointment only, to the senior center to receive a Miles for Memories wristband.

“They’ll need to call the senior center at 989-356-3585, talk to Annie or myself, we’ll set up an appointment for them on one of those days, and get them in,” Sander said.

“We want to be able to make sure that people who are getting these bracelets are educated on how to use them,” Hepburn added.

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