Program helps to find people with medical problems or dementia more easily than previously

The Molalla Police and Fire Departments and the city's Adult Center have started a new program called HomeSafe. The joint venture is designed to help potentially vulnerable residents who might be missing. It's entirely free.

"There's an issue of safety for people with medical or memory problems that we often get calls for and we need to help," said Rod Lucich, Molalla's chief of police.

The program is designed to help first responders identify people who may find it difficult to communicate who they are or where they live. Family members or caregivers can enroll in the voluntary program by filling out an application at any of the three participating facilities.

That information will be transmitted into a specially designed silver bracelet containing identification and medical information. Included in the sign up is a photo that is put into a database for identification if the person goes missing. Then when the person is found, each of the three have the background and photos to help.

HomeSafe was recommended by Adult Center volunteer Netra Thoma, said Molalla Police Lt. Frank Shoenfeld who remembered a similar program used by the Canby Police Department when he worked there.

"We often find it difficult to find folks that walk away with medical or dementia issues. It's hard to get them back to where they used to be. Before we adopted this program, we had to call a lot of numbers and do extensive research to find where the person is supposed to be and do lots of research. HomeSafe makes a scary situation easier on the family," said Shoenfeld.

While it may not be a huge problem in Molalla, it's also not that small, said Lucich. "It's a tool we can use to get them back to where they belong when they can't remember where they belong or we can help when they have medical issues," he added.

"I think it's great," said Lucich. "If we help a family member who is scared and on pins and needles wondering about where a father, mother or grandparent is, we have a chance to minimize their concern."

"I'm super excited about it," said Shoenfeld. "I can't wait to get people involved in it.

Once the form is filled out, families will be given the bracelet and a small measure of confidence. Even if the bracelet is taken off, police—for example—can take a photo and check with either of the three hosts to find out if the person is missing.

For more information regarding the HomeSafe program, visit the Molalla Police Department's website or stop by the Police Department to talk with Lucich or Shoenfeld or the Molalla Fire District to chat with Chief Vince Stafford of check with Director Cecily Rose at the Adult Center. You might also want to check out the Police Department's Facebook page for the smart phone mobile App called USPDhub.

Carol Rosen
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