Space age tech to help independence

Jill O' Boyle demonstrates the safer walking  GPS
Jill O' Boyle demonstrates the safer walking GPS

The wonder of space age technology is being harnessed to help older people living with dementia remain independent in North Lanarkshire.

The safer walking Global Positioning System (GPS) is being used by North Lanarkshire Council to complement a raft of internationally-recognised dementia initiatives.

The compact, lightweight devices are used at the complete volition of the person living with dementia and their carer.

Jill O’Boyle, a senior officer of the council’s Older Adults Team, said: “People living with dementia can be fit and active, enjoy physical exercise, but have problems with their memory.

“Because of this, they can experience problems with orientation and have difficulties finding their way home if they’re out walking.

“This can make their loved ones feel very anxious and concerned for the person’s safety.

“In situations like that, the carer can access the GPS manufacturer’s website and initiate the ‘find’ function with the last known location of the device displayed on Google maps.”

The cutting-edge initiative is being used as part of the nationwide Reshaping Care for Older People (RCOP) programme with aims to help growing numbers of people over 65 to continue to live full, positive and independent lives in the community.

Jill added: “The GPS is one of many supports we can offer, it’s one part of a raft of technology available, but it can be an extremely useful aid to independence.”