JABA Piloting New Tracking Tech for Forgetful Seniors

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SmartSole device SmartSole device
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Families living with Alzheimer's or dementia patients might be able to get a little relief thanks to new technology. An Albemarle County organization is testing out a device that helps keep an eye on people who may wander.

Fifteen clients of the Jefferson Area Board for Aging (JABA) are trying out SmartSoles, a shoe insert fitted with a GPS or Bluetooth tracking device. The device sends a signal to a computer or phone, showing the wearer's exact location. Caregivers can also check where the SmartSole wearer has been over the past week.

JABA employees say this new device is better than other technology they've seen in the past.

“To them, it's just a sole. It's not a GPS tracking device. Where we've seen a lot of people with bracelets, wander guard, other systems in place, they don't want to wear them,” said Danielle Flippin with JABA.

Caregivers can program boundaries or zones into the SmartSoles; if someone wearing the soles leaves that area, family members will get a text or email alert.

JABA says this technology can also help authorities if they're called in to search for someone who has gotten lost.

The Jefferson Board for Aging is the first of 600 area agencies on aging around the nation to pilot the SmartSoles program. The company that designed the soles, GTX CORP, is looking for feedback to tweak its product before a commercial rollout.

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