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Alzheimer's charity "backs tagging"

A leading charity has said that it backs plans for dementia sufferers to be electronically tagged, according to reports.

The Alzheimer's Society said the scheme could empower patients by giving them more freedom to wander off and could help families care for their loved ones for longer.

The tags use satellite tracking systems similar to those which are already used to keep tabs on offenders and would only be used with the patient's consent.

The society says that many dementia sufferers feel a compelling urge to walk, with 40% getting lost when they wander off, distressing both themselves and their families.

Chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, Neil Hunt, told reporters the technology "could offer benefits" to people with dementia and their carers.

He said: "There is a careful balance to strike between empowering people and restricting their movement and this technology can certainly never be used as an alternative for high-quality dementia care."

There are about 700,000 people in the UK with dementia, which mainly affects older people, and a large proportion of those have Alzheimer's disease.

Experts predict that the figure is set to rise to more than one million in 20 years and to 1.7 million by 2050 - an increase of 154% over the next 45 years.

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