Get Lost in the middle of Taupō and help raise money.

Alzheimers Taupō Committee is holding Get Lost, a scavenger hunt fundraiser in Taupō town on Sunday November 17. Committee president Grant Sim said the money raised would go towards buying more tracking devices,

"We are also wanting to raise awareness around people living with dementia and Alzheimers."

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Costing $250 each, the GPS tracking device comes as a pendant, watch or with a loop and emits a beeping sound when a transmitter tunes into a unique frequency. An aerial attached to a helicopter, on top of a car, or hand held, is used to send out the signal to the tracking device. Grant says the system used by Alzheimers Taupō is used throughout New Zealand, and is made by the same company that manufactures Kiwi tracking devices.

"When someone goes walkabout, Taupō police officer Sue Moult is the first port of call. The transmitter and aerial are kept at the police station."

He says a better connection is made if others understand the story behind the person with Alzheimers.

"Our clients know where they are going. They are on a mission. It may be to the bank that closed 20 years ago."

Alzheimers Taupō field officer Michelle King says her clients may be frail, but they can walk a fair distance. She and field officer Elaine Fox provide assistance and support to Alzheimers patients and their families in the Taupō district.

Michelle says creative methods can be required to make sure the person with Alzheimers is wearing their pendant.

"It's about knowing their story. If they always take their hat then the pendant can be sewn into the hat," says Michelle.

The pendant is a critical tool for supporting families of those with Alzheimers and Michelle says Alzheimers Taupō aim to have people living well with dementia. She says they want to see people valued, respected and loved.


"Safe at home is best," she says. "Keeping those real community connections is important."

Get Lost is a fun event for all ages and fitness levels. You can enter as an individual or family and the event is located around the main shopping area in Taupō CBD.

"Highlighting the best of Taupō CBD, and at the end you get to take home a Christmas decoration."

The clues are fun puzzles to solve and the Alzheimers-related quiz will be thought-provoking for those who don't have first hand experience of living with a loved one with Alzheimers. For instance: Question - You should always correct a person with dementia when they say something that you know is wrong, true or false?

"False! It makes them anxious, and then the anxiety remains long after they have forgotten what happened," says Michelle.

Grant gives the example of a widow who each day would say "Oh I must cook dinner for my husband".

"Her son would reply, 'No don't worry Mum, he said he was working late tonight and not to worry.' After this his mother would carry on with her day happily. If she had been corrected she would have relived her grief and been upset for the rest of the day."

Michelle says it's best for the family to enter into their loved one's world, not the other way round.

All the funds raised at Get Lost will go towards purchasing the tracking devices for Taupō patients and Grant says Alzheimers Taupō provides a free service.

"So all our energy can go into our customers."

Get Lost is held on Sunday, November 17. Meet at the butterfly sculpture in the children's park, Tongariro North Domain. Registration from 12.30pm for 1pm start. $20 per family or four adults.