Winnebago County has free help for families who fear that a family member may wander away and get lost.

A few years ago, an over 80-year-old man with dementia ran his car into my yard in the middle of a very cold Winter night. The officers who responded had been getting calls reporting a man who appeared to be drunk and driving erratically on Highway 75 near Rockton, Illinois. What police later found out was that the man wasn't drunk but very confused and upset. That man was from Indiana (over 300 miles away from home) and had been missing for two days.

On May 20th at OSF St. Anthony Medical Center's Safety Safari, the Winnebago County Sheriff's Department will be offering a free program that can help you protect your loved ones, who because of dementia or autism could become confused and wander off.

Winnebago County residents and caregivers can register in the nationwide MedicAlert registry and database, according to a recent story in the Register Star. Upon registry you'll receive a free medical I.D. bracelet and you'll get emergency support services around-the-clock.

If you can't make the Safety Safari event on May 20th, you can register online.