Tracking Wandering Patients With Alzheimer’s Disease
Posted Oct 30 2011 10:12pm
Posted on | October 27, 2011 |
The Challenge: 5 million Americans suffer with Alzheimer’s Disease. Boomer influx will soon magnify this to around 20 million. 60% at some point in the course of the disease (usually early when they are still living independently) wander off and get lost. Those not found within 24 hours run a 50% risk of death.
Partial Solutions: Health technologists focused in on the use of GPS systems to track the movement of Alzheimer patients. These were embedded in bracelets and pendants and wristwatches that the individual wore.
The Problem: Andrew Carle , a professor at George Mason University’s College of Health and Human Services says you have to understand Alzheimer behavior. “The primary reason (early GPS attempts have failed) is that paranoia is a manifestation of the disease. If you put something on someone with Alzeheimer’s that they don’t recognize, they remove it. If it’s a wristwatch and it’s not their wristwatch, they will take it off. So you have to hide it.”
A New Approach: Dr. Carle assisted GTX Corp in developing shoes with the GPS embedded in the heel. Footwear firm Aetrex Worldwide has just received its first shipment of 3000 pairs. Cost – $300 a pair. But will they wear them? We’ll see.