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PEPPERELL — When someone goes missing every minute counts.

June 7 is the first day Pepperell residents can sign up a loved one you are caring for, who may suffer from a level of cognitive impairment and may wander. This program gives police a 90-minute head start in finding that person!

The Safe Return Project is a free, proactive program for Pepperell residents, where loved ones can register the person they are caring for with the Pepperell police and Council on Aging. This serves two purposes; first, it enables a rapid response when someone is identified as missing. Second, it is a tool to identify a wandering person who is unable to identify themselves.

Partnering with the Pepperell police and fire departments as well as Pepperell Family Practice Immediate Care who generously sponsored awareness brochures, The Pepperell Council on Aging will enable registrations at the Pepperell Senior Center beginning Friday, June 7 as part of a broader “Safety Day” planned for the center.

Registration is easy and can be done with the Pepperell Police Department or at the Pepperell Council on Aging (Senior Center) at any time on or after June 7. A supplied photo of the loved one and a one page registration form consisting of identifying and emergency contact information is all it takes.

Cognitive impairment and wandering are can affect both young and old. Children with Autism engage in wandering and nearly 60 percent with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease have wandering tendencies. Help save first responders the typical hour and half it takes to collect the pertinent information once someone is missing and register as soon as June 7.