GPS Shoe Device Can Track Lost Alzheimer's Patients

Article

It is a nightmare scenario for any caregiver who has to deal with a loved one with Alzheimer's disease. They turn their back for a moment and the loved one disappears. Frantic minutes of searching can become hours. The lost family member or friend is found most of the time, but all too often, the outcome can be injury or even death.

It is a nightmare scenario for any caregiver who has to deal with a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. They turn their back for a moment and the loved one disappears. Frantic minutes of searching can become hours. The lost family member or friend is found most of the time, but all too often, the outcome can be injury or even death.

That scenario could become a thing of the past with the introduction of the GPS Shoe by GTX Corp, which makes enterprise two-way global positioning system real-time personal location services.

“The GPS Shoe has the potential to be life saving, as well as life changing technology, for those afflicted and their caregivers,” Andrew Carle, director of the program in senior housing administration at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, said in a statement.

“The shoes also hold the potential to save governments hundreds of millions of dollars in search and rescue operations, as well in health care costs for those otherwise injured,” added Carle, who is also an advisor to GTX Corp.

Over five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s and there is no cure, according to the World Alzheimer Report 2010. Those numbers are expected to rise to more than 20 million in the US and 106 million worldwide.

According to statistics, 60% of those afflicted will wander and become lost and up to half of those lost who are not found within 24 hours may die from dehydration, exposure, or injury.

GPS devices are one solution to this problem, but those that are carried in pockets or worn on clothing are less reliable because people with Alzheimer’s can lose or remove them. The solution? The GPS Shoe, which hides a miniature locator in the heel of one shoe.

“I pointed out why this was an ideal technology for people with dementia who wander,” Carle told the New York Times. “Little kids can carry cell phones with GPS. We have far more seniors wandering off every day who don’t call for help.” The GPS Shoes retail for $300.

SourcesGTX Corp Ships First 3,000 GPS Shoe Devices to Footwear Partner Aetrex Worldwide, Inc. [GTX Corp] A Shoe for Wanderers [New York Times]

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