A small blue pendant is saving lives and bringing home loved ones in Manawatu.

The pendant provided by Alzheimer's Manawatu, is an electronic tracking system for at risk people throughout the community.

Alzheimer's Manawatu manager Donna Hedley said the system saves lives.

"It's an electronic tracking system that uses radio frequency, similar to tracking a kiwi in the bush," she said.

Advertisement

In the past 12 months, there have been eight callouts to locate missing clients.

Donna said there hadn't been anyone with a WanderSearch pendant they haven't been able to find.

"Our pendants aren't just for those with Alzheimers.

"We have children with autism wearing them, and people with head injuries, they are for the whole community, for people at risk becoming lost," she said.

WanderSearch has a total of 99 pendants across Levin, Dannevirke and Manawatu.

The pendant has a battery life of six months which Donna says is excellent for those who can't remember to recharge or replace batteries.

"WanderSearch does regular operational checks of the pendants and manages the battery replacements," she said.

"Recently there was a callout for a lady who went missing in Dannevirke who'd disappeared from a rest home."

The rest home attempted to find her but couldn't. An hour later they called the police who located the woman in only 10 minutes through her WanderSearch pendant.

Brenda Morgan didn't know she was lost when she went for a three-hour walk.

Her daughter Tina, worried about her, called the police.

When Brenda was found, she didn't know she was lost, and it was then Tina knew her mum had dementia.

Police referred Tina to WanderSearch Manawatu who fitted Brenda with a tracking pendant.

Recently Brenda disappeared during a shopping excursion. Tina called 111, the police tapped into the tracking device and found Brenda within 10 minutes.

Brenda said she was pleased to be wearing the pendant because it enabled her to be found.

"I'm pleased I was found, I'd walked a long way.

"I like to walk but you don't know you're lost until you're found."

Tina said the pendant had given her a lot more peace of mind. "Without WanderSearch it would be a lot harder to care for mum.

" I'd be worrying that she'd be out walking and I wouldn't be able to leave her at all," Tina said.

¦December 2015, a dementia patient disappeared from a Christchurch rest home, but drowned accidentally in a river and was found the following day.

¦February 2016, a Palmerston North woman with dementia went missing on her drive home from a tennis game; she was found alive in a ditch four days later.

¦December last year an autistic man went missing in Rotorua and is yet to be found.

¦January this year, a Hamilton man with mild dementia went missing and was found deceased in a neighbouring suburb a month later.