The proposed effort is aimed at the evaluation of a wireless electronic location system for reporting the location of individuals with Alzheimer's Disease and other Dementia (ADOD), who tend to wander or elope. This is a very vexing and routine problem for caregivers, and sometimes results in physical danger and emotional stress to the individuals who may wander. The system consists of an innovative wearable electronic navigation unit, which reports the position of the individual continuously to the caregiver, both in indoor and outdoor locations, irrespective of GPS coverage. This unit is specially designed for addressing the complicated issue of arbitrary pedestrian motion in unstructured indoor and outdoor environments. The system can also be integrated with other community and national safety networks (such as Silver Alert), and can be valuable in quickly locating individuals in emergency situations. In previous work, we designed a preliminary device for the autism community, with input from caregivers, autism risk management professionals, and researchers. We are currently developing the device, and several prototypes are ready for evaluation in this proposed effort for Alzheimer's. In Phase I, a focus group is planned to refine the requirements for Alzheimer's-specific users. In Phase II, prototypes will be tested in a wide scale pilot test program to evaluate and establish the efficacy of the system in helping caregivers locate individuals with Alzheimer's rapidly. The goal is to accelerate the transition of these devices to the users through a focused evaluation and testing process in this SBIR project, yielding launch-ready devices and associated user manuals and educational materials. A parallel (non-SBIR) effort is underway to build relationships with, and educate patient advocacy groups and user groups about this system, as part of the commercialization strategy.
Individuals with cognitive impairments (such as Alzheimer's and Autism) tend to wander or elope from their caregivers routinely. This is a very vexing problem for caregivers, and sometimes results in physical and emotional danger to the wandering individuals. We propose to evaluate an electronic location reporting system for users in the Alzheimer's community, which consists of a wearable electronic navigation unit, which reports the position of the individual continuously to the caregiver, both in indoor and outdoor locations.