The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer or AD is an incurable disease and at an alarming rise. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, about 5.4 million Americans are trying to cope up with this degenerating disease. The numbers are on a steep rise and are expected to be quadrupled by the year 2050. Apart from this, there are about 800,000 people in Ireland and U.K who suffer from this form of dementia and wander away. Time is a very critical factor while tracking down the Alzheimer patients. If they are not found in the first 24 hours, their chances of survival go drastically down and if they are found at all, they are seriously injured or can even succumb to the injuries inflicted. Thanks to the technological advancements, there is a special monitoring solution available in the market that is exclusively designed for Alzheimer patients and can help the caregivers to provide timely help to the wandered off patients.
The makers of comfort shoes, Aetrex and the maker of personalized GPS person-finder technology, GTX Corp come together to bring patented GPS tracking shoes engineered especially for Alzheimer patients. The makers have christened the footwear as Aetrex Navistar ™ GPS. The footwear alerts you via email or text message if the patient leaves the allotted safe zone. One can also request an emergency notification to locate the patient immediately.
It is not that the smart shoes were originally developed for dementia patients. In fact, the GPS technology and comfort shoes were aimed at young children and professional runners. The cellular device and miniaturized GPS chip installed in the footwear’s sole is unique to each person and would coordinate with the online portal to help parents to keep a track on their children’s whereabouts. Upon realizing that the same technology can help the caregivers and family members to monitor the AD patients who wander away, the company decided to bring its GPS technology into the healthcare segment.
It is not that the tracking device for AD patients is a new idea. But since Alzheimer patients can be very snappy and act confused as well as paranoid with a new wearable device or any change in their lifestyle, the idea of tracking them could not take off to a great extent. Here the monitoring solution comes in the form of shoes that can be used on day to day basis and has nothing special “feel” to it that could irritate the patients and cause them to remove it.
Look and Feel of the Smart Shoes
The shoes are pretty much like any other footwear available in the market for senior citizens except for the little edge that protrudes from the heel. The polycarbonate material covers and protects the transmitter from rough use and water to much extent. The transmitter is fitted in the right heel of the shoes. These are comfortable and very stylish. The patients would not find anything odd with the footwear and are expected to adapt to it very quickly. However, the only problem could be the patients who are in the early stage of Alzheimer and do not remember to wear even shoes. For patients who otherwise are still healthy to take a walk on their own, tracking becomes easier than ever with these super shoes.
Available for men and women, the footwear comes in two designs, strap and lace.
Tracking can be done via a smartphone app that will alert the caregivers when the patient will leave the mapped out safe zone, here termed as the ‘geo-zone.’ The smartphone app can be downloaded via Google Play Store for free.
The GPS-enabled Aetrex Navistar footwear is priced at about $300. GPS services will be facilitated by MedicAlert Foundation that will cost you about $40 per month. The alert will be send on daily basis, about 5 times a day.
Aetrex Navistar can help many caregivers and concerned family members to get peace of mind as well as to ensure the wellbeing of their elders. However, the steep pricing of the smart shoes can play spoil sport for many. Patients, who are living on their own or utilizing social security benefits for their daily expenses, would not be able to get these expensive GPS smart shoes unless available at reduced prices. However, for the families where money is not an issue and can afford it easily, should go for it and take a sigh of relief knowing that their seniors are safe and well-guarded.