Wrapping ill loved ones in high-tech cocoon of caring

Vernon S.O. starts "Project Loved One"

VERNON PARISH, LA (KPLC) - The Vernon Parish Sheriff's Department has started a new program aimed at helping people with any mental impairment in case they become confused and lost.

It's a service to those like Ralph Deason and his daughter, Lynn Tanner, who brought her father in to register. Deason suffers from Alzheimer's and she's concerned he could possibly go for a walk and have trouble finding his way home.

The program is  called Project Loved One. And by registering those with mental impairment, families may help increase the likelihood their loved one will be found more quickly and before they get in harms way.

Ninety one year old Ralph served his country in World War II, something he remembers like yesterday. "I got into the anti aircraft, anti aircraft division.  I made an invasion on Admiralty Islands."

Yet Deason now has difficulties with simple things because of health problems including Alzheimer's.  It's important to his daughter Lynn to make sure he's safe in his rural Vernon Parish home.  "I've always been concerned, because we do live in the country part, that he would just take off and go walking one day and we would not be able to find him in the woods or wherever."

So, Deason is one of the first to be photographed and fingerprinted as part of project loved one-- a program to register anyone with mental impairment so that if they are lost and cannot help themselves, they can be more easily located and helped as Vernon Sheriff Sam Craft explains, "Should this person become lost or get somewhere where they can't be easily identified, that through this registration process, we'll have the information here on hand so that we can easily and quickly identify these people and get them back to their loved ones."

Deason says, "I think it's a good idea."Deason's daughter also provided a list of medications in case he needed medical care. "But most importantly if they find him they'll know to call her. When my mom was passing away I told her, 'I'm a daddy's girl, so you know that I will take care of my dad."

Those who register will carry an emergency card in their wallet so anyone trying to help knows to call Vernon Sheriff's Department.

For more information on project loved one or to register call Vernon Sheriff's Department at 337-238-1311.

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