Beacons Help Find Lost Dementia Patients

The Jockey Club Centre for Positing Ageing in Hong Kong has been working with The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and St James Settlement to create a system to aid the search for older people with dementia who get lost.

The solution works on the premise that people who get lost generally go to places where there are other people. A Bluetooth beacon-based device is detected by an app installed by 23,400 ‘dementia angels’. They receive an alert when someone is lost and are asked to turn on Bluetooth and location. When the lost person is detected the location is anonymously sent to a cloud server and then to the caregiver to aid with searching.

The beacon comes in several forms including suitable for putting into a wallet or attached to a walking stick. In 45 out of 131 lost episodes, the caregivers were able to use the technology to help search for their relatives with dementia.

87% of caregivers thought that the iBeacon was easy to carry for the people with dementia and 82% observed that their relatives with dementia were willing to carry the iBeacon. 79% of caregivers were satisfied with the durability of the iBeacon and 75% thought that the designated mobile app was easy to use. In addition, 74% of caregivers trusted data security. The overall programme satisfaction rate was 85%, revealing that they held a positive view of using this technology in their daily lives to prevent getting lost.

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