A personal alert and location service for people with dementia has been launched by Alzheimer's Australia Vic on Thursday 25 August.
Safe2Walk® is an easy-to-use GPS and mobile phone device that has been designed to support people's independence and to reassure carers if a person with dementia goes missing.
Alzheimer's Australia Vic President, David Galbally QC said people becoming disoriented from their usual environments and sometimes lost is quite common among people with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
'It can be distressing for the person and for their families," he said.
'The Safe2Walk device helps people with dementia to maintain their independence and at the same time reduces stress for carers".
'It's all about empowerment and helping maintain independence so people with dementia can go walking with greater confidence."
Alzheimer's Australia Vic Chief Executive Officer, Maree McCabe said Alzheimer's Australia Vic participated in a pilot program of the device in 2010 and thanks to further funding, can now extend the program and make it available to more Victorian families.
Safe2Walk® was developed by Alzheimer's Australia in Western Australia and the service is already operating in Western Australia and New South Wales.
'Safe2Walk® helps minimise the risks associated with -at risk' wandering and most importantly it provides much-needed peace of mind," Ms McCabe said.
'While hard data is difficult to gather, police estimate that about one in three people they search for have dementia and it is thought that about 60-80 per cent of people with dementia wander at some stage."
'Being able to rely on the Safe2Walk phone for my father gave my mother a sense of calm and peace of mind that had been missing for quite a few years," Safe2Walk Pilot Program participant, Mina Sapounakis said.
'We could go grocery shopping without stressing and rushing back home quickly to check on Dad.
'There were a few times he had gone wandering and we were able to easily find him without having to call the police."
The device can be worn around the neck on a lanyard or clipped to a belt and has a GPS function on it that updates the persons location every 60 seconds.
Carers log on to a secure, easy-to-use website and see where the person wearing the device is.
There is also a simple mobile phone component to the device, which is operated by one button, which holds up to three pre-programmed telephone numbers, so if the primary carer's phone number is busy, it will automatically divert to a second or third nominated carer.
The new program will be launched by David Galbally QC on Thursday 25 August from 2-3pm at Garden House, Royal Botanic Gardens, Dallas Brooks Drive, Melbourne. For more information about Safe2Walk®, contact Alzheimer's Australia Vic on 1800 100 500 or visit www.safe2walk.com.au
In Victoria 69,000 people are living with dementia, 56 people develop dementia every day.
Alzheimer's Australia Vic is the charity representing people with dementia in Victoria. As the peak body, we provide specialised dementia information, education and support services.
Call our National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 or visit www.alzheimers.org.au/vic