A scheme is being trialled to see if satellite technology can be used to prevent people with dementia from getting lost or into difficulties.
The City of Edinburgh Council is working with housing, care and community services provider Bield to develop a system that allows people with dementia and other cognitive disorders to walk about safely, using global positioning satellite locating devices.
Seven people are piloting the GPS Safe Walking project, which is being reviewed by researchers at Edinburgh University to determine how it could be further developed in the capital and used elsewhere in Scotland.
The users wear a device on their wrist like a watch or carry it in their pockets. The device triggers an alarm to a call handling centre if they go out of a pre-determined geographic area called a safe zone.
The council has provided the Vega devices while Bield is managing the monitoring service.
Sharon Ewen from the company said the service should "help reduce the stress associated with caring for someone with dementia" and she hoped other councils would follow Edinburgh's lead.
Edinburgh University hopes to publish a study evaluating the experiences from the Safe Walking pilot in September. Plans are also being discussed to involve the police in the project by making the missing persons unit part of the reporting process.
© 2012 EHealth Media.
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