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Caregivers Of Those With Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia To Receive Scent Preservation Kits

An old man looks out a window. He stands in a dark room.
Alex Boyd
Florida Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Richard Prudom says the scent preservation kits will assist families and help prevent at-risk individuals from becoming a missing person.

Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare will get 50 scent preservation kits. These kits could help K9's track down those with Alzheimer's disease or dementia who have wandered and gotten lost.

Vicky Rose is the coordinator for Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare's memory disorder clinic. She says COVID-19 is disrupting the routine of those who have Alzheimer's disease and related dementia (ADRD). Rose explains that people with ADRD are heavily reliant on a routine, and when it's disrupted problems can arise:

"So with that change in routine, we can, of course, expect people to maybe have more problems. Maybe they will wander outside of the home looking for that thing that they're supposed to be doing, and that's where the scent preservation comes in."

The Florida Department of Elder Affairs is partnering with Scent Evidence K9 to hand out scent preservation kits. Rose says these kits can help K9s locate lost loved ones faster.

Scent Evidence K9 founder and CEO, Paul Coley, says when there are multiple people in a home, their scents mix, making it harder for K9s to lock onto the right scent:

"I refer to it as the Pig-Pen effect. If you've seen Pig-Pen from Charlie Brown, the way the dust comes off of him, that's how human odor works. So in a home, that odor travels and can contaminate any potential scent articles."

Coley explains that even a loved one's dirty laundry can have various odors on it. He says the kits allow caregivers to collect someone's scent and isolate it for years to come.

The Florida Department of Elder Affairs says 2,000 of these scent preservation kits will go to caregivers across the state.

Robbie Gaffney graduated from Florida State University with degrees in Digital Media Production and Creative Writing. Before working at WFSU, they recorded FSU’s basketball and baseball games for Seminole Productions as well as interned for the PBS Station in Largo, Florida. Robbie loves playing video games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Animal Crossing, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Their other hobbies include sleeping and watching anime.