Strengthening a Partnership in the New Year
Florida Department of Elder Affairs
Message from Secretary Richard Prudom
The Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) continues to support the direction of Governor Ron DeSantis in keeping Florida’s most vulnerable populations safe. DOEA is strengthening its partnership with Scent Evidence K9 through the distribution of additional Scent Preservation Kits® to caregivers of those living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD). Older adults with ADRD may have an increased tendency to wander and become lost. If that happens, proactive family safety measures, such as the Scent Preservation Kit®, are providing effective response systems to locate missing persons and return them to safety.
By strengthening our relationship with Scent Evidence K9, we are able to assist more families and help prevent at-risk individuals from becoming missing persons. The Scent Preservation Kits® now contain even more resources to allow families and caregivers to be prepared before an at-risk individual goes missing, and the additional information may improve response time if someone does go wandering.
DOEA initially sent 3,000 kits to Memory Disorder Clinics (MDCs) and individuals seeking assistance through other dementia-related programs. Seventeen MDCs are located throughout Florida and may be found on the Elder Affairs website at elderaffairs.org/doea/alz/clinicmap.pdf. Since the original order, we acquired another 2,000 kits and in total will distribute 5,000 Scent Preservation Kits®. The kits now include an Individual Preparedness Plan, Response Recommendations, and extensive resources provided in an enclosed USB flash drive.
We have worked extremely close with the Founder and CEO of Scent Evidence K9 Paul Coley who likes to call the Scent Preservation Kits® “Peace of Mind in a Jar.” Paul is a former FBI Forensic Canine Operations Specialist and canine handler and was constantly faced with the challenge of finding an effective scent article during active searches. His solution was to develop the scientifically tested and proven Scent Preservation Kit®. These kits provide K9 responders with uncontaminated scent articles that significantly reduce the time it takes to locate someone.
Occasionally, Scent Evidence K9 brings their new K9 trainees to DOEA headquarters to introduce them to our team. We are pleased to celebrate the “scentsational” K9 Stella, for being awarded the top honor in the Uniformed Service K-9 category for the 2020 American Kennel Club ACE Awards. Stella and her handler and owner, Paul Coley, are a lifesaving team for seniors with ADRD in Florida. We extend a well-deserved congratulations to their team.
Scent Evidence K9 was very kind to create special, new DOEA packaging for the kits which will be distributed by our Department, and I am pleased to include my welcome letter with further instructions inside each kit. We will continue to work with Memory Disorder Clinics, the Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative, and all Florida Area Agencies on Aging to identify recipients for the kits and ensure those with the highest risk of wandering are protected. If you or someone you know is interested in acquiring one of these complimentary kits, please visit the elder affairs homepage at elderaffairs.org and fill out the online application.