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  1. Technological Device
  1. Orientation
Do you know?
Technological devices with GPS can improve orientation!

“I'd like a world more spacious than the one I'm in now!"
“it's not so much about wandering as it is about exploring the world”

If you are a person living with dementia, technological devices with GPS can improve your orientation skills and prevent wandering.

What is the essence of these new technologies?

GPS devices are currently being implemented in social care to support users in independent activities of daily living, both indoors and outdoors and are applicable for people with cognitive impairments.

An example are the GPS alarms aiming to support users in independent activities.

1. 1650018143724.png1650018152220.pngGPS in watch or pendant with a geofencing option. The technology tracks persons with dementia and is contacted by a monitoring agency if people with dementia report that they are lost or have reached the geofence. As an example - the Spotter GPS Watch can function extremely well as a senior alarm watch. This way people with dementia can send an SOS message to their relatives in case of emergency by pressing the SOS button. The seniors watch is also equipped with a call function and different zones can be set, and it is equipped with many additional functions.
2. 1650018169741.png
  1. Dementia tracking bracelets are trackers in real time. They are very beneficial in healthcare applications whether that be an elderly person suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or another form of cognitive decline. Basically, the elderly person wears the senior GPS bracelet and then the live GPS tracking data transmitted from that senior GPS bracelet can be viewed 24/7 by concerned family members or health caregivers.


Nowadays a lot of innovative solutions are being developed. The producers of GPS technologies for people living with dementia and their caregivers aim to prove that new technologies are clinically effective and offer economic value.
These devices aim to promote better quality of life and help
avoiding the dangers of wandering. A device like a GPS watch or bracelet may be a good solution. It can help caregivers relieve stress.

And you, which technological devices do you use to improve orientation?
Discuss it with the community members

Do you know?
Technological devices with GPS can improve orientation!

It’s common for a person with dementia to walk off, and it can happen at any stage of the disease. Six out of ten people living with dementia will wander at least once (3).
The term "wandering" refers to repetitive and frequent walking, which may be associated with escape attempts, or getting lost if unaccompanied (2). It may include aimless, purposeless behaviour that lacks temporal orientation, or walking in search of something, with a purpose not apparently known to the observer. Examples of “wandering” are: running away, excessive walking, pacing or aimless walking back and forth, attempting to get outside, eloping, looking for others and inability to sit down (1).
It has no clear etiology, but it can be related to boredom, discouragement, disorientation, memory problems etc (4). It is very important to understand the hidden reason in a person’s movement, as it allows them to move beyond the symptoms and find deeper insights (5).

How to prevent it?

In order to prevent this behaviour, you could implement the following actions

  • Propose structured and meaningful activities throughout the day
  • Plan things to do at the time of day the person most likely to wander (activities and exercise may help reduce anxiety, agitation and restlessness)
  • Ensure all basic needs are met, including toileting, nutrition and hydration
  • Involve the person in daily activities such as folding laundry or preparing dinner
  • Reassure the person if he or she feels lost, abandoned or disoriented.
  • Avoid busy places that are confusing and can cause disorientation, such as shopping malls.

What to do when this happens?

When wandering occurs, take some actions:
  • Start searching immediately, keeping in mind which is the dominant hand of the person (wandering patterns generally follow the direction of the dominant hand).
  • Begin by looking in the surrounding vicinity.
  • Check local landscapes, such as ponds, tree lines or fence lines; many individuals are found within bushes.
  • Search areas the person has wandered to in the past.
  • If the person is not found within 15 minutes, call the authorities to file a missing person’s report. Inform them that the person has dementia.

What precautions to take?

We can sew in the contact details of the closest relatives in their bag or coat. In addition, a great contribution can be made by the community where people with dementia live: when the person moves along habitual paths, it could be useful to inform shopkeepers and acquaintances by giving them instructions about the recommended actions to be taken in case the person finds themselves in difficulty.
In addition to these precautions, there are technological devices which can help caregivers manage the person living with dementia.
There are different types of instruments; the most common are the GPS devices (39.76%) and alarms and sensors (16.7%).
Real-time movement monitoring systems, such as the Vigil Dementia System, identify a person’s immediate location and allow staff to intervene if the person is, or people around him or her, at risk of harm (5).
There are also wearable devices (watch, wristband, shoe insoles, lanyard, belt) which use mobile locator devices. These technologies offer the possibility of mitigating risks while allowing a person with dementia to be physically active (2). For example, iWander Android application offers remote monitoring to caregivers by using a GPS-based service to detect wandering (5).
These technologies may extend the time a person with dementia can live in its own society and improve their and the caregivers’ well-being.

And you, which technological devices do you use to improve orientation?
Discuss it with the community members


1 Brittain, K., Degnen, C., Gibson, G., Dickinson, C. & Robinson, L. (2017). When walking becomes wandering: representing the fear of the fourth age. Sociology of Health & Illness, 39(2), 270–284. doi:10.1111/1467-9566.12505
2 Neubauer, N.A., Lapierre, N., Ríos-Rincón, A., Miguel-Cruz, A., Rousseau, J. & Liu, L. (2018). What do we know about technologies for dementia-related wandering? A scoping review. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 85(3), 196–208.
3. https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/stages-behaviors/wandering
4. http://www.alzheimer.it/wander.html
5. Graham, M.E. (2017). From wandering to wayfaring: Reconsidering movement in people with dementia in long-term care. Dementia (London, England), 16(6), 732–749.
Citation at the beginning taken from “Visione parziale, un diario dell’Alzheimer” C.S. Handerson
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