Many persons living with dementia feel the urge to walk about and in some cases leave their homes. Though this walking is sometimes termed as “wandering”, it is rarely ever aimless. Persons with dementia may simply not remember where they had set out to go, or what they had intended to do.
Wandering becomes a cause of concern when persons living with dementia encounter dangerous situations while wandering about the neighbourhood. For example, they often experience problems with orientation, which causes difficulties in finding their way back home. When the person with dementia is away from home for an unusually long time, or if the caregiver is unable to locate him/her, then wandering becomes a problem.
Another reason for concern is that there is a significant number of older persons living with dementia, whose primary caregivers are also seniors. For example, primary caregivers could be a spouse who is likely to be close in age. Seniors may be more vulnerable due to age-related reasons, such as an increased proneness to falls and fall-related injuries.
To address these issues, smart devices have been invented to improve the lives of persons living with dementia and seniors by allowing caregivers to keep an eye on their loved ones when they are out and about, and to help ensure their safety. Some of these devices include personal GPS trackers and personal alert buttons:
• Personal GPS trackers can alert caregivers once the user leaves pre-set safe zones (for e.g., home), and track the user’s locations and movements in real time.
• When an older person falls, he/she may be alone or unable to shout for help. The situation can be worse if it is the caregiver who falls and no one else is taking care of the person with dementia. Personal alert buttons thus allow the user to quickly inform other family members (children and/or relatives) or care professionals when such emergency situations occur, by pressing an ‘SOS’ button.
There has been a growing number of devices that build in both of these features, allowing the user’s live location and movements to be tracked, and allowing him/her to press a ‘SOS’ or panic button to call for help during emergency situations (e.g after a fall).
The table below lists down the personal GPS trackers and alert buttons that are available in Singapore.
Note: This list is not exhaustive or an endorsement of products. Information is accurate as of 5 September 2021. Please contact the respective sellers for more information.