Teen Develops SafeWander: Innovative Alzheimer’s App

It is estimated that three out of five people with Alzheimer’s will wander at some point after being diagnosed with the disease. Wandering can lead to serious injury and even death, and 16-year-old Kenneth Shinozuka may have found a solution to protect loved ones with Alzheimer’s at night.Teen Develops SafeWander: Innovative Alzheimer's App

Learn more about wandering in people with Alzheimer’s and the newest solution to the problem, created by a teen who resolved to keep a loved one with the disease safe.

SafeWander: Protecting Loved Ones Who May Wander

Wandering is common among people with Alzheimer’s and many caregivers would tell you it is something that causes them great stress.

People with Alzheimer’s can easily become disoriented and confused, and the Alzheimer’s Association estimates that about 60% of people with Alzheimer’s will wander. They also estimate that of those who wander and are not found within the first 24 hours, up to 50% will suffer serious injury or even death.

16-year-old Kenneth Shinozuka is no stranger to the consequences of a person with dementia who wanders. When Shinozuka was four years old, he got lost with his grandfather in a park. As his grandfather’s condition worsened over time, wandering and its consequences have been a constant source of worry for his loved ones.

Shinozuka is now a student at the Upper West Side’s Horace Mann School and he has used his personal experiences with Alzheimer’s and caregiving to create an app to keep loved ones who may wander safe. The app, called SafeWander, uses a motion sensor to detect movement and then sends an alert to caregivers. The system has a sensor, a transmitter and a smartphone app. When the person with Alzheimer’s gets out of bed and steps on the floor, the sensor will send an audible alert to the caregiver’s smart phone. According to their website, it is the first wearable sensor system for detecting wandering.

The Future of SafeWander

Shinozuka has had oustanding results from testing his app with his grandfather at home and then at retirement communities. He won $50,000 at the 2014 Google Science Fair and put that money towards further devloping his app and preparing it for public use. Shinozuka was also invited to the 2015 White House Science Fair as an exhibitor.

According to The White House Blog Post:

“During six months of use, the device detected every instance when Kenneth’s grandfather got out of bed at night, without any false positives, ensuring his whereabouts were always known.”

SafeWander

While the app and its system is still in development, there are high hopes that this young and ambitious inventor will make a serious impact on improving the safety of people with Alzheimer’s and dementia while also giving caregivers a peace of mind.

Would you purchase the SafeWander app and system for a loved one? Do you think it could help you protect a loved one who may wander? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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Please leave your thoughts and comments

  • Maryjo Nelson

    Is this avalible for sale? I am very interested.

  • Stacy

    I would like to find out more about this product and where I can purchase this. You need to show how this works and utilize the power of Internet / TV to tell your story. Great idea your Grandfather should be proud of you and your invention.

  • Tricia

    I’m very interested. Even though dementia can not be treated, the offers a safe alternative. This is awesome!

  • Rachel

    This is a great idea, please let me know when this is available for purchase. Keep up the good work. We need all the help we can find. I am so scared I’ll wake up one day and mom won’t be anywhere to be found.

  • Evaaber

    How do you charge/recharge?

  • Diedre

    Awesome!!! Can’t wait to purchase! There are a lot of us out there that need this product!

  • Stew

    Great product…I am currently investigating a GPS Watch that can be warn to Monitor the Activity of your loved one. Hoping to convince my Alarm Company to incorporate this into their platform of products.

  • marjorie

    Kudos to this young man , I can see how much this can help prevent falls, and especially loss of loved ones. As a healthcare worker , I see many future uses for other people affected with various illnesses, such as Autism, mentally challenged , or mentally ill !! Way to go, and kudos to his school also !

  • Kristin

    Great job to this young man! I can see so many uses for this system. Would be very interested to hear when this is for sale.

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