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Pinpoint

Pinpoint is a home system designed to monitor the location of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. Consisting of a wearable tracker, home sensors, and mobile app, it provides caregivers with a system to help monitor their loved one’s movements throughout the day.






Alzheimer’s Disease in the United States

Out of the estimated 5.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer's disease, approximately 5.2 million are over the age of 65. By 2025, it is projected that number will rise to 7.1 million. Given the rapidly growing at risk population, it is important to develop solutions that will enable individuals to live comfortably and safely in their homes for as long as possible.



6 in 10 people with Alzheimer's will wander


Wandering is a common issue among people with Alzheimer's disease and can occur at any stage of the disease. Individuals become disoriented and lost, even in places that are familiar to them. Individuals are commonly found within 1.5 miles of the location from where they disappeared. Due to confusion, they are often unable to ask for help, which leaves them vulnerable.

If a person is not found within 24 hours, up to half who wander will suffer serious injury or death


Because wandering can occur at any stage of the disease, it is especially dangerous for individuals who are in the early or middle stages of the disease that are not under 24-hour supervision. This can add a tremendous amount of stress on the caregiver. With this in mind, I wanted to design a home system that would provide a way to monitor the location of a loved one.



Current Strategies to Address Wandering

Currently, there are various solutions to help curb wandering in individual’s with Alzheimer’s disease,  ranging from camouflaging doors and doorknobs to the incorporation of technology through GPS tracking.




Medical ID Bracelet
Can be worn all the time and provides information to a person who finds the patient
GPS Tracking
Provides exact location
Signage in the Home
Provides reminders when a caregiver is not present
Camouflaged Door
Less noticeable and harder to reach; also includes childproof knobs and hidden locks
Signal Devices
Indicates when a door is opened; helpful when a caregiver is present in the home
Developing a Routine
Provides structure and can reduce anxiety and restlessness




Key Insights

From my research, one main issue I found was that most options focused on a single solution as suppose to a system of solutions. For example, by having a patient wear a medical ID bracelet, they have the necessary information to contact the caregiver once they are found, however it does not provide an indication of when a wandering episode begins to the caregiver allowing them to act quickly to find the patient. 

How can a system be designed for the caregivers that utilizes current wandering prevention principles?





Thinking about the Family Caregiver

On average, the family takes on the role of caregiver for a family member with Alzheimer’s disease. In the United States, over 15 million family and friends provided some form of assistance for an Alzheimer patient.





2/3 of family caregivers are women


6/10 caregivers are employed



35% of family caregivers suffer from depression


59% rate their emotional stress as very high




Because wandering is an event that is extremely difficult to control or predict, it can add a tremendous amount of stress on a caregiver who can not provide 24-hour supervision.




Designing a System

Looking at the current solutions for wandering, I decided a system that incorporated various strategies to curb wandering would be beneficial to both the patient and the caregiver. I wanted to incoroprate elements that would be helpful, both before a wandering episode and during a wandering episode. I decided to focus on a combination of the following strategies: ID Bracelet, GPS Tracking, Home Signal Devices, and Routine.




ID Bracelet

GPS Tracking

Home Signal Devices

Routine




Pinpoint's Solution

Throughout my research, I found that establishing a routine for individuals with Alzheimer's was extremely important. A daily schedule provides structure and often reduces a patient's agitation and improves mood. Looking at the current solutions for wandering, I decided to develop a system that combines the concept of a medicial ID bracelet, GPS tracking, and home signal devices. In addition, I designed the mobile app so caregivers can monitor the location of their loved one and gain an understanding of their daily routine and movement patterns.






Wearable Tracker & Room Sensor

The wearable tracker is made of a flexible, durable elastomer material and features a surgical-grade stainless steel clasp. The band features a large surface on the front where optional important information can be printed or laser engraved. The tracker comes with a wireless charging platform and two removable water-resistant sensors. Having two sensors enables the caretaker to have one sensor charging and ready to go when needed.

The room sensor was designed to be small and discreet when hung in a room. The base is made from plastic and features an RGB color ring with LEDs. This light ring is used to indicate necessary information, such as a sensor malfunction or a low battery change.











Mobile App

Pinpoint's mobile app allows caregivers to monitor the movements of their loved one. The combination of the tracking bracelet and home sensors permits the caregiver to set room alerts, review a history of the individual's movements, view his or her GPS location, and receive location alerts via notifications, text message, or email. Also included in the app is a patient profile that provides important information ranging from current medications to important contact information.










* Statistics from Alzheimer’s Association

© 2018 Laura Rodriguez