GPS, A-GPS, and RFID Devices May Make “Silver Alerts” a Thing of the Past
Advances in technology are creating a world in which ‘Aging in Place’, as an alternative to entering a nursing home or assisted living facility, is moving from the realm of Idea to that of Reality for many.
Technologies designed with the elderly and their caregivers in mind abound and are continually making it easier for people to remain in the comfort of their own homes, confidently. GPS, A-GPS and RFID location devices, for example, can help families and caregivers who look after those who may be prone to wandering off and/or becoming disoriented, those who suffer from Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other related diseases, by providing real-time coordinates of a loved one’s whereabouts in the event of a Silver Alert. Many such devices are available on the market now and work in conjunction with apps that can be downloaded directly to smartphones, tablets, personal computers, and the like. Small and discreet, they can be attached to personal affects, clipped to clothing, or even carried in a pocket. Some can even be inserted into shoes. Prices range from around $300.00 to $600.00.
A bit of science: while autonomous GPS (Global Positioning System) utilizes radio signals from satellites alone, A-GPS (Assisted Global Positioning System) additionally can use network resources (like cellphone towers) to calculate position. In places where there may be interference from physical features like trees and buildings, this can help to fix a person’s position more quickly. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) incorporates the use of electromagnetic or electrostatic coupling in the radio frequency (RF) portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to uniquely identify a carrier. If more information in this area is desired, comparisons and contrasts pertaining to accuracy, reliability and battery life are easily found online by doing a quick keyword search.
All of the available devices, however, target one purpose: contributing to the overall safety and well-being of the aging population.
Not all who wander are lost… anymore. Or at least they don’t have to be.