Dementia diagnoses have increased exponentially in the recent years. This leaves so many families worrying about their loved one’s safety and well-being. One major concern among families affected by dementia is that their loved one will become disoriented or even lost while out and about. Due to this common fear, a Japanese company proposed a novel solution. They invented “GPS shoes” that are able to track the wearer’s location. While there is some skepticism surrounding technologies like this, there are also huge benefits.
This article from The Epoch Times introduces us to this innovative piece of technology. The Japanese company, Dokodemo, created these shoes with the problem of wandering in mind. In the heel of the left shoe, they have incorporated a small GPS (global positioning technology) “terminal”. The built-in GPS senses the wearer’s location.
According to Dokodemo, they are well aware that other similar devices are already available to dementia patients. (We found some just googling.) They claim technologies such as wearable pendants or watches containing a GPS are not as effective. The individual is far more likely to take off a pendant or watch, than they are to take off their shoes. They believe this makes it more reliable.
However, users and their families should use caution with any type of GPS technology for aging loved ones. Overworked nursing home staff and worried relatives may be quick to turn to things like GPS shoes. But experts believe that technologies like this are best used in addition to personal care, not instead. Furthermore, some argue that dementia patients shouldn’t be left to wander alone in the first place.
Ultimately, caring for someone with dementia is a journey with so many aspects to consider. But hopefully at the forefront of each consideration is the patient’s safety and well-being. Technology is excellent at helping us in this way, but it shouldn’t take our place. The best ways to manage dementia will likely involve both human supports and technological gadgets like the GPS shoes.