Long Beach man with alzheimer’s found safe through LA found program

Photo by Henry Salazar
Pictured is the LA Found bracelet and receiver, which are both utilized to help locating missing individuals with mental illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or autism. Los Angeles County officials introduced the program earlier this month for residents. County officials are funding a limited amount of bracelets for those who qualify, according to a representative from Supervisor Janice Hahn’s office.

A 75-year-old Long Beach man with Alzheimer’s, who wandered away in the middle of the night, is home safe today with his family, found because of a tracking bracelet he wore, a county official announced.

Fourth District LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn said Alexander Vargas represents the 12th “save” since the L.A. Found program was established last September.

“I launched L.A. Found because I knew that this technology would save lives,” Hahn said. “Realizing your husband with Alzheimer’s is missing from your home in the middle of the night must have been a terrifying experience– but Mr. Vargas was found and brought home safe thanks to L.A. Found. This program works.”

L.A. Found was established to deal with the growing problem of people with cognitive issues wandering off and getting lost, which sometimes ends in tragedy. The county provides bracelets that can be located using a radio signal. Families caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, autism or dementia can apply for a bracelet.

At 2 a.m. on Aug. 11, Long Beach police got a call from Vargas’ family, who had been searching for him for four hours.

Police immediately informed the Sheriff’s Department, which sent search and rescue and mental evaluation teams. Members of the search and rescue team used the Project Lifesaver receiver to track Vargas’ location and in just minutes found Vargas a few blocks away from where he went missing.