Three generations of women sit at a table in a restaurant in Downey. Martha Delgado, the matriarch, turns to them and asks, “Do you want me to sing you a song?” She begins to sing and suddenly she stops singing. She begins to cry. She cannot remember the rest of the lyrics.
Her granddaughter hugs her as her daughter Carmen Vazquez consoles her mother, “Don’t cry mother, don’t cry,” she says, but she can't hold back her own tears.
“It’s a disease that affects the whole family” Vazquez explains.
Delgado was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease five years ago. She’s wandered off several times, a very common occurrence with those living with the disease, and it's something that Vazquez tries to prevent.
“I double deadbolt the house,” Vazquez says.
Delgado is now part of a program called L.A. Found - A program that was approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors back in February that's intended to help locate people like Delgado, who might have wandered off.
Kirk Moody, a Manhattan Beach resident, tries to keep up the garden the way his wife did.
“Nancy was really the master gardener." he says.
Kirk Moody’s wife Nancy Paulikas, another Alzheimer’s sufferer, is why L.A. found exists. Paulikas wandered off from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art two years ago and hasn’t been seen since.
“We have no idea where she is, we have no clues,” Moody says.
Moody followed every lead possible to try and track her down himself.
“You realize how huge Los Angeles is and and how finding somebody is just going to be an unbelievable challenge,” says Moody.
L.A. Found adopted a tracking system called Project Lifesaver. Delgado now wears one of the GPS system’s bracelets on her wrist. If she wanders off, her daughter alerts authorities and they activate the tracking system and are able to pinpoint her exact location. To date, the system has been used to successfully locate two people.
Delgado doesn’t seem to mind the bracelet though, she thinks it's a “A pacemaker for my heart, so I can keep walking."
Vazquez lets her believe whatever she wants, as long as she doesn’t take it off. For her, it’s an extra peace of mind knowing that when she can’t be holding her mother’s hand, the bracelet will still keep her close.