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Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015

LeBlanc: K9 scent kits for wanderers

Common Sense Caregiving


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The statistics regarding the number of dementia patients who wander are quite disturbing. It is now estimated that six out of 10 people with dementia will slip away and get lost. What's even scarier is that if they are not found within 24 hours, 48% of them will become a fatality.

These numbers alone tell us that caregivers must take every precaution available to keep their loved ones safe. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Time and time again I hear, "I don't have to worry about my loved one wandering. After all, they never wandered before. We have always gone everywhere together."

This thinking is dangerous! As caregivers we must be proactive. I'm sorry to have to say it but it's necessary to plan for a worse case scenario. When looking at the statistics, it becomes self evident that it is the best strategy.

United Way of Citrus County was recently hosting an educational event on dementia. I was invited to speak at this event, held in Inverness. Near the end of the day a woman named Linda Boles approached me. She had with her a "Human Scent Preservation Kit." Inside this simple box was a large, sealed envelope containing a gauze pad. She explained that caregivers should take the pad and wipe it at the base of the patient's throat, thus capturing not only his or her scent but also DNA. Then the pad is placed in a heavy glass jar that is supplied and sealed tight. A sticker should then be filled out with the person's name and information. These jars must be kept out of sunlight and away from direct heat. The scent pad is free of contaminates such as laundry detergent and it has a shelf life of five plus years.

I love this concept. To make it even better these kits are less than $10 each, which just may end up being the best 10-dollar bill a caregiver ever spends.

The designers of this "Human Scent Preservation Kit" are Paul and Donna Coley. Paul has more than 20 years of K9 training and is a former Forensic Canine Operation Specialist with the FBI.

To learn more about these "Human Scent Preservation Kits" visit their website at:

Do not delay as time is of the essence when it comes to the safety of these vulnerable individuals. Every bit of assistance is of value in locating them as soon as possible, then bringing them back to the safety of their homes and loved ones.

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