Published on: May 26, 2017
by The Sun UK:
Professor June Andrews says advances in technology will mean a chip under the skin will save lives by pinpointing their location if they wander off. She has even given her 20-year-old daughter the power of attorney to implant one if she develops symptoms.
Prof Andrews, a trained nurse and ex-head of dementia studies at Stirling University, in Scotland, now works independently to improve the lives of people with the memory-loss syndrome and their carers and has written a number of books on the subject.
She believes tracking devices could save families the anxiety and distress if their relative goes missing and potentially save lives.
There has been an increase in the number of people with dementia who go missing being reported to police.
More than 60 per cent of people who have dementia will start to start to wander off.
In some cases, a sufferer becomes confused and does not return as expected to their home or nursing home.
Prof Andrews is in favour of subcutaneous trackers, inserted under the skin, which are used in some countries but not in the UK.
In Japan, people can add barcodes to the thumbnail and toenails of elderly people with dementia which has a record of the patient’s name, address and who to contact in case they’re found disorientated.
Prof Andrews said: “I’ve signed over my power of attorney to my daughter and I’ve said to her, when the time comes, put a subcutaneous tracker in.
“I would be delighted for her to do that.
“A huge amount of family anxiety is caused when someone goes missing, to the person and the family.”
She continued: “The devices can also alert you if the person stops moving for a long time. You can have a movement sensor into it. If someone bumps into something or falls over, it alerts you.
“They are getting more and more sophisticated.”
A pilot project has also been launched by Police Scotland in Aberdeenshire in which family members and care providers gather information for use should their loved one go missing in the future.
Police can then look at the list of the places that the missing person may be attempting to re-visit.
Although it’s great to celebrate the big achievements, it’s also important to celebrate the small wins.
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