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Tracking device for dementia patients

A council in London is using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to monitor the movements of people with dementia.

The initiative comes after Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Mental Health Trust began a two-year trial using the technology in March aimed at giving dementia patients more independence.

Westminster City Council is now testing the GPS devices on volunteers living in the area who have shown signs of the early stages of the condition.

By attaching the tracking systems to jewellery or clothes their journeys can be monitored on a map via a secure website.

Councillor Ed Argar said: "In Westminster we are committed to exploring new ways to improve the lives of our older people, and safer walking technologies could give more independence to those who are living with dementia."

He added that while the technology is no substitute for "high-quality professional dementia care" it offers people "greater security, safety and dignity and reassurance and peace of mind for their families and friends".

If the trials by the council and the trust prove successful, the technology could be introduced nationwide  for some of the estimated 700,000 people in UK with dementia.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Alzheimer's Society

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"I think this would be great for someone like my mother with dementia as she wanders sometimes and would enable us to find out where she is. Is this available to buy?" - Isobel Clark, Glasgow