Shoe with GPS insole lets you track loved ones with Alzheimer's or dementiaBy Mark Pygas
Feb. 3 2020, Updated 9:46 a.m. ET
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia can easily become a full-time job. And if you look away for even just a moment, it can have dire consequences.
According to one study, 130 people with dementia went missing in Australia from 2011 to 2015. Of those, 71% were found alive, 20% were injured, and a further 19% were unfortunately found deceased. Another study found that 60% of Americans with Alzheimer's will 'wander' at some point.
That's why SmartSole decided to create a shoe insole with a GPS tracker hidden inside. The insoles can be slipped into the shoes of a loved one who suffers from the diseases and a built-in tracking chip with a cellular signal lets you know exactly where they are.
According to the company's website, shoes are a great item to track because Alzheimer's or dementia sufferers will still remember to wear shoes when they start to wander.
"This system capitalizes on procedural memory," the website explains, "which means even those with advanced memory disorders typically remember to wear shoes!"
The website also states: "This is wearable technology that not only provides peace of mind but can also save lives while preserving the privacy and dignity of the wearer." Other trackers, such as bracelets, are far more visible and patients may try to remove them. Insoles, on the other hand, are completely hidden.
The insoles send a location update to a server every 5 or 10 minutes. That location data is put on a map which caregivers can access online or through the company's mobile app, and if your loved one leaves an assigned area, you'll be alerted by email and text along with their last known location.
The insoles themselves cost $299 for the pair, with two monthly service plans that either update location every 5 or 10 minutes. It seems like a pretty small price for some peace of mind.
The product has plenty of testimonials, with one reading: “She still wanders off but with the smartsole we can get to her before she reaches a busy road or a traffic area.”