(RxWiki News) It's not uncommon for patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease to become confused and wander off. New shoes with built-in GPS systems may help ensure that seniors with dementia can be tracked and safely brought home.
Footwear company Aetrex Worldwide has received 3,000 pairs of the shoes produced GTX Corp. The shoes, which will sell for about $300, are expected to go on sale in the U.S. this month.
"A GPS plan may keep Alzheimer's patients safe."
The shoes fitted with 2-way GPS technology through which caregivers can subscribe to monthly tracking services, look like average walking shoes with the tracking device hidden in the heel.
They are expected to remove the stigma of other available devices such as bracelets with tracking abilities. In addition since paranoia is a symptom of the disease, patients may be inclined to remove unfamiliar items such as tracking pendants, bracelets or watches.
“This is a significant milestone for both companies and while the $604 billion worldwide cost of dementia has become and will continue to be a significant fiscal challenge, the under $300 GPS enabled shoes will ease the enormous physical and emotional burden borne by Alzheimer’s victims, caregivers and their geographically distant family members,” said Patrick Bertagna, CEO of GTX Corp. and co inventor of the GPS shoes.
More than five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease, and that number is expected to grow substantially. Statistics indicate that 60 percent of patients affected by Alzheimer's will wander and become lost. As many as half of those that wander who are not found within 24 hours could die from dehydration, exposure or injury.
Andrew Carle, an advisor to GTX Corp and director of the program in Senior Housing Administration at George Mason University, said that the GPS Shoe has the potential to be life saving. He said the shoes also could help governments save hundreds of millions in search and rescue operations and healthcare costs for those who are injured.