A pilot program of a personal alert and location service for people with dementia was launched by Alzheimer's Australia Vic at their Hawthorn office today.
Safe2Walk® is an easy-to-use GPS and mobile phone device that has been designed to support people’s independence and to reassure carers if a person with dementia goes missing.
The acting CEO of Alzheimer's Australia Vic, Jack Sach, said ‘People becoming disoriented from their usual environments and sometimes lost is quite common amongst people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It is distressing for the person and for their families. The Safe2Walk device helps people with dementia to maintain their independence and at the same time reduces stress for carers.”
The launch of the pilot program today included a large screen demonstration of the GPS service and corresponding website. In attendance were some of the participants in the trial, Carers Victoria, Council on the Ageing, Aged & Community Care Victoria and other aged care organisations.
The program is fully operational in Western Australia and NSW, and if the pilot is successful in Victoria it will also be made available in this State.
Mr Sach said, “Safe2Walk® helps minimise the risks associated with wandering and most importantly it provides much-needed peace of mind. Whilst hard data is hard to gather, police estimate that about one in three people they search for have dementia. It is thought that about 60-80% of people with dementia wander at some stage.”
The device can be worn around the neck on a lanyard or clipped to a belt and has a GPS function on it that updates the location every 60 seconds. Carers log on to a secure, easy-to-use website and see where the person wearing the device is.
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