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TEANECK, NJ (WCBS 880) - Perhaps you’ve seen them on the highways – silver alerts. It can be frightening when a person with Alzheimer’s Disease disappears.
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“It’s estimated to be around 60 percent of the people with Alzheimer’s or dementia may wander at some point,” said Beth Kallmyer with the Alzheimer’s Association. “They may be trying to go to work. They may be trying to fulfill some former obligation. Sometimes we have people say to us or families say that the person kept saying ‘I want to go home.’ but they were already home.”
She says some caregivers are tracking movements with GPS in a car.
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A New Jersey company has taken the next logical step.
“The original concept was for runners, and then it became, ‘Well, what about people with dementia or Alzheimer’s, people who wander and get lost?’,” said Evan Schwartz, president of Aetrex Worldwide in Teaneck, who has seen the silver alert messages overhead on Route 4 quite often.
They’ve developed the GPS shoe.
“So, the GPS unit is basically buried in the heel of the shoe, and then antenna is run up the back of the shoe into this counter right here, and then the USB port is in the back as well,” he explained to WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams.
The battery can last for a couple of days.
It costs $299 for the shoes and $34 to $39 a month for the monitoring.
LINK: Aetrex Worldwide
You create a perimeter.
“So, say your house is the central spot and the geofence is just the neighborhood. The moment the person crosses that geofence, it send a signal to your cell phone, your smartphone, your computer, saying your loved one has crossed the geofence. And now we’re tracking every ten minutes – ping, ping, ping to the satellites. You get updates. You can then go online, use your smartphone to see where they are at all times,” said Schwartz.
He says the GPS shoe provides peace of mind during a trying time, and it might have an additional applications.
“We need to get the device a little bit smaller. But we can get into children’s shoes. There’s perfomance atheletes who do long-distance running. I think there’s military applications for, say, if we can get it small enough to go into boots,” he said.