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New GPS software creates peace of mind for families of ailing seniors

Some Grande Prairie Home Care Clients are in the midst of testing out a new product that would make caring for those with cognitive impairments easier.

Both Grande Prairie and Calgary are taking part in the trial, which uses GPS technology to locate and track a loved one who has wandered off or is lost.

Tracy Ruptash is the Locator Device Project Lead. She says it allows those living with things like Alzheimer’s or Dementia to maintain their safety while staying active in the community.

“We know that seniors don’t want to move from their own homes as they age. They want to stay in their own home and be supported, to be as safe and independent as possible. We felt like this technology could be a support to that aim.”

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The devices can either be handheld, worn as a watch, or as a shoe. They then transmit a ‘bread crumb’ trail whenever the wearer leaves their designated safe zone.

Ruptash says they provide fairly specific information.

“Notifications can be set up to report on things like battery power and whether the device is on or off. Most importantly the software allows for real-time location of that device that can help a family member locate their loved one.”

The shoe and wrist watch also have a panic button included, allowing the devices to be used like a cell phone.

The trial will wrap up in October, at which time a report will be submitted on the usability of the GPS software and the program.

Ruptash says once the Locator Device is on the market, the cost will include a $200-$400 start up fee followed by a monthly bill of about $45, much like a cell phone plan.

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