Potentially life-saving MedicAlert program in South Hadley

The program is free for families through the MedicAlert Foundation.

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP)-  There is a new, potentially life saving program for people in South Hadley.

The South Hadley Police Department and MedicAlert foundation have teamed up to provide caretakers of seniors with memory loss diseases and people with autism a way to find their lost loved ones through a pendant.

The program is part of a $250,000 grant from the Department of Justice, and is open to any police department in the country.

Here is how it works: the person in need wears a pendant on a bracelet or shoelace with a 1-800 number on the back. The 1-800 number is connected to the MedicAlert Foundation. They have emergency contact and medical information readily available on the lost person, and are able to quickly contact someone on the whereabouts of their loved one.

For caretakers, the program gives peace of mind. Marie Stathis takes care of her husband, who has Alzheimer’s Disease. “I’ll be doing the medical alert and I think that’s going to be a big thing, a big change for me”, she says. “I won’t worry as much.”

South Hadley already has a local program called Persons at Risk. This new program is nationwide, so you can find your loved one wandering anywhere around the country.

“We saw it as enhancing our current program”, said South Hadley Police Chief Steve Parentela. “It expanded on our current program for being at risk of wandering and needing assistance and it was obvious.”

The South Hadley Police Department is the first in Massachusetts to take advantage of the program, partly because of their aging population.

The program is completely free for citizens through the Medic Alert Foundation and is available 24/7.