AF&RS and ASP unveil new wearable dementia wristbands

Avon Fire and Rescue Service (AF&RS), Avon and Somerset Police (ASP) and the Senior Citizen liaison team have unveiled a new wearable tech wristband for those with dementia.

It has been estimated that more than 850,000 people in the UK are affected by dementia, but less than half have been diagnosed.

The wristband, which utilises Near Field Communications (NFC), helps to protect and safeguard those vulnerable people with dementia in our society.

Since the launch of these bands on BBC Crimewatch the Service and its partners in this initiative have had a huge amount of interest and requests through Home Fire Safety Visits (HFSV) and general email enquiries from individuals and families of people living with dementia.

Darren French, Community Fire Safety Watch Manager at Avon Fire and Rescue says: “We take an active role in protecting the most vulnerable people in our community whilst conducting home fire safety visits.

“These visits give us the opportunity to asses any risks to the individual and get them the help they need.

“We’ve ordered around 750 bands and will be piloting the scheme in the Bristol and Avon area.

“My team will be visiting to households who may benefit from a wristband, getting them set up and then working with our blue light partners to help keep them safe.”

Using NFC technology, the wristband stores essential information about the wearer, including their name and next of kin.

The information can be accessed via the NFC app when a mobile is held near the wristband, alleviating the need for physical contact which can cause further distress.

This information can be used by emergency services, health professionals or community members to get the wearer back to safety should the individual be lost or confused.

Sergeant Stuart King, who leads the Dementia Safeguarding Scheme and is a member of the Senior Citizen Liaison Team Charity, said: “Throughout my policing carer, I’ve encountered many situations where people with Dementia are lost and confused, some of which sadly ended in tragic circumstances.

“It’s often an upsetting experience for the lost person and whilst we try to work quickly and sensitively to get them home, it can be challenging for us to find out who they are and where they live.

“I’ve been involved in related schemes for around seven years. I really care about finding better ways to serve elders with dementia whilst treating them with the compassion and dignity they deserve.

“Whilst this isn’t a replacement for good care, this tech is cheap and accessible, so I’ve got high hopes this will make a difference.”

“This is the latest addition to our Dementia Safeguarding Scheme, which also has a GPS tracking element, as well as the ‘Avon and Somerset Dementia Forum’ which is an active Facebook group and we would invite the public to visit to find out more”.

Due to the demand delivery of the bands by the Vulnerable Adults team will be phased with Bristol being first, during the month of October, followed by BANES, South Glos and North Somerset in November.

If you, the individual or the family of someone with dementia feel that a band would be beneficial, please book a HFSV where the Service will be able to carry out an assessment.

To book a HFSV , please visit call 0117 926 2061.