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GPS Shoes for Wandering Alzheimers Patients

GPS Shoes for Wandering Alzheimers Patients

News headlines often read “Police searching for missing Alzheimer’s patient.” People with Alzheimer’s disease, a type of dementia, can often get confused and disoriented, and end up wandering off. Earlier this year, Ontario introduced a “Silver Advisory” program, similar to the Amber Alerts that are used to help locate missing children, to solicit the public’s help with finding wandering Alzheimer’s patients. Now caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s may be able to engage technology to help them.

GTX Corp, Aetrex and Omnilink Systems are working together to launch a series of shoes with built-in GPS tracking devices. The GPS shoes are expected to go on sale in the United States this month at a price of around $300. Purchasers will be able to subscribe to a service that will help them track Alzheimer’s patients and locate them if they wander off. According to Andrew Carle, a professor at George Mason University’s College of Health and Human Services, more than five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s and 6o percent of them wander and get lost. Patients who are missing for more than 24 hours can die of dehyrdration, exposure or injury, all of which can be prevented simply by knowing where the patient is.

Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient takes a significant toll on family members, who have difficulty watching their loved one slip away. As the number of Alzheimer’s patients continues to grow (Carle expects numbers to quadruple in coming years), the potential for them to go missing, resulting in expensive searches and potentially deadly results, also increases. Products such as these shoes can provide peace of mind for caregivers and also increased independence for Alzheimer’s patients who won’t need to be monitored as closely at all times.

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Photo credit: h.koppdelaney on flickr

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45 comments

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6:56AM PDT on May 10, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

6:07PM PDT on May 19, 2012

I am distrusting of any tracking devices, but this is great, FOR THIS USE ONLY.

10:07AM PDT on Apr 17, 2012

We have been working with a company called Vision that designed a GPS Wristwatch that is specialized for locating a wandering patient as well. It´s called the Keruve Family Direct Locator. They also designed one for children with Autism called the Pikavu Express Locator. The shoe looks great but this actually locks to the person´s wrist. Other options!

3:02AM PST on Jan 17, 2012

Thanks.

11:09AM PST on Nov 15, 2011

sounds like a very good idea.

5:39PM PST on Nov 14, 2011

This is wonderful news! I hope they get put to use.

9:15AM PDT on Oct 28, 2011

John, that is a medical procedure, and probably elective at that. Medicare is not going to pay for it. The shoes are good, but many people wander at night, right out of bed. So, I am at wits end trying to figure this one out. I would like the implants if we can get them done when the person is alert; Right after their diagnosis. AND make medicare or insurance pay for it.

12:57AM PDT on Oct 28, 2011

It's a good idea for both dementia patients and children (as long as they keep their shoes on).

2:30PM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

The chip is a great idea.

3:21AM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

sounds like a great idea, that could really work!

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