Britain is leading the way with some exciting new technology research that should help dementia caregivers.
The first locator system, called the SOS (trademarked system), was developed by Blue Tree Services and was just released into the UK marketplace. The SOS system uses an alarm that is worn by a person with dementia. This alarm allows a caregiver to monitor the person's location by using an individual mapping system. The system is internet based and can help watch one or more people who are in motion. These smart alarms also let the caretaker know if the alarm system is not being worn or has been left somewhere. Mike Smuts, the Managing Director of Blue Tree Services, feels that this product, "...can give freedom back to individuals without compromising their safety". For more information and availability for medical applications, visit www.bluetreeservices.co.uk.
Imagine a person with dementia having limited caregiving needs because his house "speaks" to him. That's the exciting news from a joint venture between the Bristol City Council's Adult Community Care Service, Dementia Voice and Housing 21. The technology was actually developed by the Bath Institute of Medical Engineering (BIME) at the University of Bath. The goal of the project was to find ways to help people adjust to living back alone in their homes after a spell in the hospital and to try to prevent re-hospitalizations. Special sensors installed in the pilot homes respond to the behaviors of the occupants by giving simple voice prompts, recorded by familiar family members. For instance, if a person was noted to be moving around at night, voice prompts would direct him gently back to bed. Lights might go on in response to getting out of bed and faucets would shut off after a period of time. A good summary of the whole project can be found at http://www.seniorjournal.com/NEWS/Eldercare/7-01-24-NewTechnology.html