Dementia care involves enabling people to live with as much freedom and choice as possible, whilst minimising risk.
This can pose a particular challenge to carers, particularly when the resident is prone to wandering behaviour.
Wandering behaviour occurs in 6 out of 10 people with dementia.
This can be dangerous if wandering leads to leaving the facility and becoming disoriented in an unfamiliar environment.
GPS technology allows residents to move about the care home freely while being monitored in a non-invasive way.
We are now seeing a few different GPS options becoming available in the social care space.
GPS tracking watches are available in a range of styles that mimic a normal watch or Fitbit.
The watch is worn throughout the day allowing staff to locate the resident at any time.
Care staff can locate the resident on a map via app or desktop. An alert can be sent if the resident leaves a certain area (such as the facility perimeter).
Some great additional features include:
- Auto answer – if the resident becomes lost staff can speak to them via a speaker on the watch.
The resident does not need to press a button or do anything to accept the call
- Daily reporting – reports can be compiled on a residents activity which can be used to identify UTIs or signs of cognitive decline
- SOS button – connects a call to the residents emergency contacts if required
Wearable Technology for Early Detection
Examining mobility and Gait changes can reveal early signs of Alzheimer’s.
This technology is used to identify the onset of Alzheimer’s so that treatment can begin in the early stages.
Early treatment can make Alzheimer’s symptoms more manageable as well as prevent late-stage complications.
This type of early detection technology is still used uncommonly due to the associated costs.
As technology becomes more advanced we will surely see more wearables designed to help maximise safety whilst providing independence to people with dementia.
In the UK, interactive workshops are being conducted which involve people with dementia in the planning and research of new innovations.