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Forest County Purple Tube Program To Help Alzheimer’s, Dementia Patients In Emergency Situations

A simple purple tube may help first responders better care for people with memory issues in emergency situations.

Forest County wants people with Alzheimer’s or dementia and their families to get involved.

Forest County Aging Director Tammy Queen knows emergency situations can be hectic and difficult.  That’s even more true for people diagnosed with a memory-related condition, especially the elderly.

“Oftentimes, when you go into someone’s home that is having an emergency situation, they’re unable to tell the law enforcement or EMS or firefighters what is going on with them or they may become very agitated or they may have some behavioral issues,” Queen said.

Queen’s department hopes those people and their families take advantage of a new option in Forest County.  It’s a simple purple tube that allows people to easily communicate essential information to emergency responders.  The tubes are meant to be kept in an easy-to-find place, like a refrigerator.

“The purple tube gives information like contact information [and] next of kin.  It gives you information about who may have an extra key,” Queen said.  “It will have cues on how to interact with that person – what I like, how to talk to me, how to calm me down.”

Information in the purple tubes will also be on file with Forest County Dispatch.

The aging department is now helping people obtain purple tubes for free.

“We’re trying to help people fill out the paperwork or give them the paperwork.  We can assist them or they can take it home and fill it out themselves.  Then, what we want them to do is bring it back, have us review it, make sure that it’s completely filled out or if there’s any questions we can [answer].  Then, we can make copies and give to dispatch.  Then, that’s when we will be giving out the purple tube itself to put it in,” Queen said.

The free program is available through the Forest County Aging Department in Crandon and the Bay at Nu-Roc, a senior home in Laona.  For more information, call 715-478-3256.

Rock County was the first county in Wisconsin to offer the purple tube program.

Ben worked as the Special Topics Correspondent at WXPR from September 2019 until November 2021. He then contributed with periodic stories until 2024. During his full-time employment, his main focus was reporting on environment and natural resources issues in northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula as part of The Stream, a weekly series.
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