EASTOVER, S.C. — Kiziah Goodwin, 78, went missing on Tuesday, after driving her car all the way to Calhoun County. Her family and caretakers noticed she was gone and immediately notified police explaining that she has Dementia and needed to be found as quickly as possible.
Family member, Theresa Brown, has been helping take care of her and explained that Goodwin's Dementia has been progressing. Brown encourages anyone with a loved one suffering from a memory disorder to keep a close eye on them.
"She mentioned that she had lost her keys and couldn't find them, and in that moment, I should have found them and taken them away," Brown recalled. "Don't let them drive, and keep watch over them."
To help with keeping an eye out, Richland County Sheriff's Office has a program called Project Lifesaver.
Lt. Thomas Amaro is the leader for Project Lifesaver in Richland and says the program was made to help the elderly and people with cognitive disorders.
"It's just a way that caregivers can keep track," Amaro explained. "It tracks up to a 1 mile radius, and is just a little bracelet they wear. We can help find people who wander off very quickly with these devices."
Project Lifesaver is free of charge. There are currently 34 people registered for the program in Richland. Amaro says they welcome anyone else who qualifies.
"The person can't drive, and they have to have a caregiver," Amaro said. "They also have to give consent along with the caregiver to have the bracelet put on."
According to SLED, if your loved one goes missing, is elderly or has a memory disorder, their organization would send out an Endangered Persons Alert.
Although law enforcement organizations like these can send help, the family of Kiziah Goodwin knows that people with missing loved ones are not always as lucky.
"It's a miracle that she's home, and we're just so thankful she's okay and that God sent her back to us," Brown said.
Other resources for Memory Disorder help:
- USC Dementia Dialogues
- Dementia Dialogues® provides the most current and practical information about how to care for people with dementia. This 5-module, evidence-informed nationally registered training course is designed to educate community members and caregivers for persons who exhibit signs and symptoms of ADRD, free of charge.
- Alzheimer's Association, South Carolina Chapter
- The Alzheimer’s Association is always available to you 24/7 for around-the-clock care and support via the Helpline at 1.800.272.3900.
- Project Lifesaver
- Project Lifesaver is a 501 (C)(3) community based, public safety, non-profit organization that provides law enforcement, fire/rescue, and caregivers with a program designed to protect, and when necessary, quickly locate individuals with cognitive disorders who are prone to the life threatening behavior of wandering.
- South Carolina Department of Aging
- The SCDOA works with a network of regional and local organizations to develop and manage services that help seniors remain independent in their homes and in their communities.