There are an estimated 5 million Americans that have Alzheimer’s and over half of those are in the early stages of the disease. In West Virginia there are an estimates 42,000 people who have the disease this number in projected to to grow to 105,500 by the year 2024 ( the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services). This is an partly because a great number of West Virginians population is older.
Recent research has made early detection possible, because of this patients have many years of independent living before they have to be watched 24/7. The Alzheimer’s Association is assisting caregivers by helping them track their loved ones. The Association has done this by adapting the already existing equipment used by prisons. By using web-based mapping systems in conjunction with transmitters, the families can be alerted when their loved one goes beyond the boundaries the family previously set.
This is a great tool especially since nearly 60 percent of Alzheimer’s patients will begin to do what is called wondering. While the tracking will help the patient maintain independence and dignity, it will never replace in-person supervision.