Safety afoot, via GPS, for Alzheimer's patients
PEGGY J. NOONAN - | 10/15/2010, 7 a.m.
Good news for more than 10 million caregivers of the nation's 5 million Alzheimer's patients: A new GPS-tracking shoe may help keep memory-challenged seniors safer.
Sixty percent of people with Alzheimer's will wander and get lost at least once as their condition progresses, says Andrew Carle of George Mason University's College of Health and Human Services in Fairfax, Va.
Seniors might remove other devices because they're unfamiliar, but wearing shoes is part of the "procedural memory" that most still have during Alzheimer's wandering stage. Unlike lost children who will respond if called, Alzheimer's patients might not remember their names or realize they're lost.
The number of Alzheimer's patients is projected to quadruple in the next 40 years, Carle says.
A tiny GPS chip embedded in the sole of the shoe provides continuous tracking via cellular communication networks.
The GPS Shoe by Aetrex is available from Foot.com and GPSShoe.com now for $250-$300 plus a monthly connection fee ($25 to $49) and will be in stores next year.
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