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Ask Slashdot: Local Navigation Assistance For the Elderly? 161

An anonymous reader writes: I have an older (90+) relative who is experiencing mental decline. He's still fairly functional (you can have a decent conversation with him, and he's amazingly positive for someone in his condition), but his memory of anything recent is terrible. He's in an assisted living center, but he's having serious trouble for example finding his way to the dining hall and back to his room. He has visitors daily and the staff are supportive but 24/7 oversight is not an option. I am looking for a navigation system suitable for use indoors that will help him move around. The distances involved are short, and his schedule is pretty regular so it would be OK to have a schedule of where he usually is at a given time (lounge, dining hall, room) and a big green arrow that always points out which way he should go to get there (so it would need to accommodate doors and hallways etc, not just the straight line direction). Is anyone here aware of such a system? I've thought of trying to write an app for a smartphone but I'm not sure if GPS is really the way to go, seeing as it's indoors. Also, battery life would be an issue — he would have trouble remembering what to do if it stopped working and I'm not sure if he'd remember (or be able) to connect a charger. For the same reason it would need to be pretty bomb-proof — he's not in position to troubleshoot if it fails.
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Ask Slashdot: Local Navigation Assistance For the Elderly?

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  • nothing will work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @10:05PM (#50740763)
    to your satisfaction. i have the same situation. tried 4 times. failed 4 times. only and ONLY 24/7 human supervision is appropriate.
    • Elderly and technology do not mix. Especially someone with a failing memory.

      • Elderly and technology do not mix. Especially someone with a failing memory.

        No, its not technology. Its something different, something new, something that was not familiar before the short term memory loss. Things in long term memory are just fine, including technology. You just have to introduce new tech before the short term loss.

      • "Elderly and technology do not mix."

        No demographic has a bigger unmet need for assistance with tech than my fellow chrono-Americans. The new printer needs to be got working to AIrPrint from the iPad. The font in every app has to be made bigger. The grandchildren need to find you on Facebook. What a Roku does needs to be gone over carefully. A myriad online scams have to be explained for what they are. IT advice that is boilerplate for most computer users has to work completely differently for this group: fo

        • My god, what did these people do before the internet and computers?

          Oh, right, they had more of a social life than the people who spend their lives on social media today. And they have their cats.

          • "My god, what did these people do before the internet and computers?"

            In the good old days they rotted away in group homes, vainly waiting for their children to visit. Because of the Internet, they can now be part of the big conversation, keeping up with the family on Facebook, reacting to the news online rather than yelling at the TV set while no one else is listening. And they're voting again.

            • ... and they're not rotting away now, even with the internet?

              Issues - limited ability to type, lack of fine motor control, low vision, dementia, poor short-term memory ... and you want them to use a computer, tablet or smartphone? They like their TVs for the same reason Homer Simpson does - they just have to sit there and passively soak it all up. You'll get rid of their TVs when you pry them from their cold, birdlike claws.

              And those who can, fall prey to every scam on the net, no matter how many times yo

      • Yeah, my mom always had trouble remember how to do much more than hit the Photos icon and then swipe sideways to see the next picture on the iPad I got for her. Same with the previous Digital Picture Frame [and a big fuck-you to the assholes at HP that lied to me about how it supported remotely being sent pictures over the internet].

        Technology isn't really 'intuitive', it's just that more and more people have grown up and used technology for some time, so they generally know what technology expects of them

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          I didn't touch a computer, really, until I was well into adulthood (and I thought it was useless and I was absolutely clueless). This was in the early 1980s. I've since adapted but I know many, many people who've never once touched a personal computer even to play a game. The closest they've come to the internet is *maybe* downloading a ringtone on their dumb phone. I doubt many of them have sent a text message.

          I lack the time or initiative but I'd love to invite them all over once a week and let them acces

    • Try Floor Stickers (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      For all the common areas use floor stickers. Like breadcrumbs.

      For rooms that might get messy depending on number of residents and distribution

      • For all the common areas use floor stickers. Like breadcrumbs.

        For rooms that might get messy depending on number of residents and distribution

        Not sure why this got modded down. Thinking outside the smartphone is a good way to help many of the elderly of our generation. Lit signs all over the place that can be turned on and off is another idea.

        • Bingo! Smart floor/wall lights that react to his bluetooth proximity. Keep the battery drain out of the smartphone and put the smarts into the lighted arrows that have wired power. Software in the lighting can deduce his coming/going direction.
          • by KGIII ( 973947 )

            It's time to chip grandpa with an RFID tag.

            Seriously, we could put it in their bracelets that they often wear at these types of facilities. They're already scanned at the assisted living center I went to visit not long ago. They use a bar code and not RFID chips in them. They're not quite the cheap plasticine/paper things you see at hospitals but they're in place, as I understood it, for things like med handouts, certain procedures, and living wills which may have a DNR associated with them. That sort of th

      • by Anonymous Coward

        For all the common areas use floor stickers. Like breadcrumbs.

        For rooms that might get messy depending on number of residents and distribution

        What part of short term memory loss do you not understand? Most elderly people that suffer from this awful and debilitating condition can not learn new things! That's why any technological solution, even breadcrumbs or stickers, or blinky lights isn't going to work. Trust me, I and my family tried everything anyone is going to suggest in this thread and the only thing that works is to have a fully functional person (preferably someone they already know from before the affliction) take them where they need t

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          I think there are different levels. Not everyone is going to be like your relative. Should we not help those who don't have quite the same level of debilitation? Should we not seek solutions for others just because your relative was on the extreme level of the scale? Should we not prolong their ability to be as independent as possible just because you had some unfortunate relative?

          That doesn't make much sense. Not everyone has Alzheimer's disease or full blown dementia. It's on a scale and degrades over tim

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      Agreed, and sadly decline can be rapid as well. While the situation I had probably isn't the same as yours or the question in general. Nothing really works except human supervision, especially since a person who can seem good one day when you're checking on them, can be the complete opposite by 5pm of the same day. They can get easily confused when non-standard things enter their lives as well, and become upset by it.

      Even basic things that the person in question used to do, for say taking medications won

      • Agreed, and sadly decline can be rapid as well. While the situation I had probably isn't the same as yours or the question in general. Nothing really works except human supervision

        In my experience, family supervision is best. It benefits everyone, even if it might not seem so to the family at first. Being with loved ones, even if they're not the same as they used to be, is a blessing. Taking care of the elderly is a feature of families, not a bug. And don't think your kids don't see how you treat the

        • The submitter is looking for a technological solution to replace one of the primary functions of nurse aid staff members.

          The PRIMARY job responsibility of nurse aids in a senior skilled care facility is:

          Assist the resident with activities of daily living.

          This is everything from helping them to take their medication, to getting dressed every morning, to taking regular showers to stay healthy, to brushing their teeth, to ensuring that their asses dont have shit on them, and everything in between.

          Quite literal

          • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

            I don't know about in the US but in Canada we have something called a PSW, who works for hospitals, VON(Victorian order of nurses), St. Elisabeth's care and so on. In their official capacity they're not a nurse, but they are a personal care worker who can stay with the person up to 20 hours per day, some will even move into a persons home in order to make them feel better.

            It's a hell of a hard choice to do anything, but having a family member there is a huge boon to them. My grandparents looked after my g

        • The problem with that is that you can lose objectivity. Each new problem becomes one more burden, but what the heck, its only one more, right? You can easily get so over your head that you end up ignoring your own needs. Burnout and depression are the end result.
    • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:25AM (#50741253)
      Sadly I've experience this as well. With failing short term memory you can't really change habits, learn a new tool, etc. Its too late. Such things have to occur before short term memory becomes too bad.

      In my situation we'd have intelligent conversations (yes, long term memory was rock solid) about things to do differently, we'd agree, but by the next day it was all forgotten. Various devices like medical alerts and such would sit on the dresser gathering dust. You can't get the new device added to the routine. When short term memory was still OK we had the device but the family member blew it off, "I'm OK, I don't need that yet". And that opinion gets locked in and the device remains on the dresser unused years later when it is needed.

      You have to get the elderly family member to change habits and use a new tool before short term memory degrades. You have to explain the preceding, that new habits need to get wired in while still relatively healthy. Keep in mind that you will be severely limited with respect to upgrading the device. A replacement needs to be substantially similar in look and usage.
  • I don't think there are any readily available solutions for your problem and it's not an easy one to solve either with an independent device. GPS is useless indoors and more so with the resolution you need (the few meters between bedroom and dining hall).

    You would have to build your own solution for this problem, using Arduino, most likely. Relative positioning using accelerometers is your best bet for an independent device, but positioning error builds quickly and you would need it to reset the error by m

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If somebody is working on this, these guys would know who... Www.aging2.com

      If not, it's an interesting idea with potential. My gut would say geolocation using ibeacons.

      (Disclosure- I work for a national assisted living company in corporate strategy).

  • It isn't what you'd call god's gift to style; but there's a neat little idea floating around of the 'haptic compass' [hackaday.com] that provides the user with a tactile cue about where north is, with the idea that this subtle, but persistent, stimulus will be integrated into their overall navigational capability.

    For your use case, you probably wouldn't want a system that points 'true north' all the time; but if you have an itinerary, you only need a real time clock and the user's current location to provide a haptic n
  • Once again Jeremy, James and Richard from old new Top Gear were way ahead of you.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
    What you need is a large GPS device that only has 4 buttons, Home, Bingo, Shops and Little Jimmy's House. It would also need to randomly point out random local facts like "That place was bombed during the war you know" as you drive by points of interest.
  • Lots of signage (eg "dinning --->"), a printed schedule (eg "12:30 be in dinning") and a watch (maybe with alarms?).

    • He should definitely be warned about a room containing loud discordant sounds.

      Unless he is hungry, of course.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Option 1:
    RFID + Monitors and Panels throughout facility.

    Reads your bracelet or whatever device as you walk past things, prompts you to go to certain directions. I would assume equipment to deploy this would be a few grand and a hell of a sell to the community managers. So.. strike this one down.

    Option 2:
    RFID / Tracking iRobot + Telemetry Tracking + Display Module
    If you could get an iRobot to follow him via a device or wearable that is low/no power - this would be ideal. The machine would self charge, and fo

  • I'm thinking of this:

    If he only has more or less one route back and forth, a system of Infrared leds, that might hang on the ceiling or walls.

    A "necklace", kind like those ones that are used in those home alert ones, but with something like a RaspPi in them. The IR LED's would be flashing in a manner similar to a remote. Some would mean "Go straight", some "Turn Right", some would mean "Turn Left"

    Now the next part is on the Necklace. It has a IR receiver, and has a speaker that blurts out the needed d

  • I have been working on a system that would *eventually* do that. It uses temporal planning software, among others to walk the user through their daily routines. Here is an example plan it has computed.

    Plan computed:
    Time: (ACTION) [action Duration; action Cost]
    0.0000: (MOVE ANDY CS-LOUNGE DOHERTY-LOCKER-161) [D:0.1500; C:2.0000]
    0.1500: (

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Here I've updated some of the PDDL domains:


      Here is a larger paper which explains the system in more detail.


      As for navigation throughout the house, there is software for mapping out wifi signals in different locations. That's what I was planning for using for starters. Of course, like with the camera you could do VSLAM (video simultaneous localization

  • due to their love of robots, low birthrate, and lack of young people to make nurses out of.

    http://www.engadget.com/2015/0... [engadget.com]

    But anyways... sounds like what you need is full smartphone capability (including ability for you to write your own apps) PLUS roomba's self-mobility and self-charging capability. Have you tried welding an iPhone to a roomba?

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Robots are not quite up to this task yet. But they might be the best approach. Rather than a gadget that a person has to remember to pick up and use, the autonomous operation of the robot can initiate interaction. A (more or less) anthropomorphic form would be something that an individual would more readily respond to.

      Right now, you can get one of those Japanese robots and program it to follow a preprogrammed schedule and route. But the sensing capablity isn't quite up to speed to stop and wait for Uncle F

    • due to their love of robots, low birthrate and lack of young people (exacerbated by their extreme xenophobia) to make nurses out of.


  • by Anonymous Coward

    How could you expect him to keep up with a small device he's not familiar with? I'm sorry to hear of his decline, but it happens - he WILL need 24/7 supervision. Don't exacerbate any confusion he already has, either bring him home and take care of him yourself if possible or find a facility that can. My mother worked in nursing homes, and I followed - any technological advance to make the elderly more "self sufficient" after they've started failing mentally just will not work.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Try and use TrackEnsure and see if it works for you. You can set up 'Trips' there, you can set up 'Zones' (boundary zones, exclusion zones, reminder zones). You can set up Meetings (to meet based on fixed location or based on current phone location). You can also set up appointments (different functionality) and you can set up projects that you are working on, tracking time between different projects on the phone.

  • ...or how to use it, or what it's for if he ever stumbles (I don't mean fall down) on it.

    It would need to be something that the person is already familiar with...unfortunately, that is not the situation today. Now, when you're in the same position, using technology will be second nature, and you'll have no problem finding the dining room.

  • I don't know how to keep stable gradients indoors, but I find smell sometimes very helpful in creating internal maps, providing continual unconscious analog distance measurements to known landmarks of known scents.

    Trouble is, it's absurdly easy to completely saturate indoor air with a given scent; and it's gradients that are useful for unconscious mapping, not intensity per se. A source at one end of a room, needs to be complemented by a sink at the opposite end; otherwise the map becomes useless in half
  • All of you fail (Score:3, Insightful)

    by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @11:28PM (#50741087)
    LED's, arrows on the floor. smartphone, arudino, flip book, GPS...all fail

    If he can't remember the way down the hall to the dining hall, how in the hell is he going to remember to pick and follow directions on the damn phone?

    How to get him to the dining hall and back? Someone holding his hand in both directions.
    • Re:All of you fail (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @11:53PM (#50741157) Homepage

      LED's, arrows on the floor. smartphone, arudino, flip book, GPS...all fail If he can't remember the way down the hall to the dining hall, how in the hell is he going to remember to pick and follow directions on the damn phone? How to get him to the dining hall and back? Someone holding his hand in both directions.

      Pretty much this, the only way to make sure he actually gets to the dining hall or back to his room is to have a person making sure of it. No matter how great the device is it's highly doubtful if he has the mental capacity to make use of it, most likely he'll forget where he has it, why he has it and how to operate it. That he could manage on his "own" with such a device sounds like a combination of nerd hubris and wishful thinking on behalf of the relative. You can't fix this with a gizmo.

      • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

        Unless, of course, said gizmo is completely autonomous, can charge and otherwise look after its own self and also the patient. You know, like an electric grandmother or bicentennial man.

    • LED's, arrows on the floor. smartphone, arudino, flip book, GPS...all fail

      My grandfather suffered from Alzheimers in his final years. Even though he had been a military court reporter throughout WWII, and had worked in an office of a chemical plant for his entire career after the war, in his later years anytime the phone rang, he would pick it up and toss it in the garbage. Anytime my grandmother needed to use the phone, she had to go fish it out of the trash.

      Years later, when I was working on my MSc., my research supervisor came to us with an idea for a device just like the OP

    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      That's a piss poor reason to not do it. It may well not benefit this person but that doesn't mean that it won't help lots of other people (with varied stages of memory loss) in the future and even more people as it moves towards being ubiquitous. I say run with it. Give it a shot. There's a bunch of examples of things that might work, right here in this thread. They may not work for everyone but that's okay - they may work for others and help others to remain independent even longer.

      • He's looking for a solution for his relative, today. Not a research project that may bear fruit after a couple of decades and many millions of dollars.
        Will we get there eventually? Sure. Not anytime soon, though.
  • QR codes - many of them, printed out on large stickers stuck to the hallways doors, etc.

    Your smartphone app would display a live camera feed. When held up to a specific QR code, it gets a position and orientation fix (using an internal database of codes in the app). The app then overlay arrows on the camera feed (possibly augmented with audio cues to the relative in your voice).

    This is similar to how Amazon's Kiva robots scan QR codes that are placed on warehouse floors.

    Regarding dementia - try virgin, cold

  • Why not try ancient tech, pencil and paper.

    Create a set of instructions to be executed in numerical order:

    1) Leave the dining hall using the big white double doors.

    2) Continue to the Sidewalk intersection with the flower pot in the middle.

    3) Take the rightmost sidewalk

    4) Go left on the sidewalk just after the building with number "289A"

    5) Enter the building marked 289A at the 3'rd sidewalk entrance.

    and so forth.

    Print up a few hundred of these for the trip to and trip from each of the points he has to go t

    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      I'm only 58. I'd forget the highlighter. :/ Still, worth a shot.

      • I'm 68, and literally keep a highlighter in my pocket, a yellow one. (but don't need instructions to get around... ) I pull it out every now and then when I get a piece of paper with a phone number on it or an address that I want to be able to find on the page easily, and swipe some yellow on that. Highlighters are just cool!

        I road rally with the Sports Car Club of America, and can get anyone anywhere with a set of rally instructions. That's why I thought of this. Don't know if it would work with so

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          Absolutely. It's very much worth a shot - if not for this one person than for others. My memory is a bit shot so I do rely on tech quite a bit to remember what to do. I'm forever leaving myself notes just to make sure I remember. In my case, I don't often actually need to read the notes - just the act of having made them is enough.

          • About 10 years ago I was forgetting where I was on my way to work, not remembering whether I had made the turn from one road onto another, etc. I fixed it with aerobic exercise on an elliptical crosstrainer at my health club. Got up to an hour and 1000 calories of exercise, which helped with keeping weight under control, too. Just a thought if you'd like to try that. Oxygen to the brain, I think is probably at work with the exercise thing. I just know I have to keep exercising, or I'm going to go a

            • by KGIII ( 973947 )

              I got lucky and was on the cusp of a 'new' technology (we modeled traffic - pedestrian and vehicular) and sold my business so I have been retired for eight years now. I am really pretty physically healthy and go out and work in the garden, cut down trees, lug my own firewood, or whatnot. I usually pay someone and then just end up helping them but I stay pretty active.

              I'm currently engaging in wanderlust - I'm sort of stuck in Buffalo due to an interesting female which was kind of, sort of, my reasoning for

  • I read through all these comments naysaying technology. This is /. after all so _something_ should be possible so it occurred to me you could do something like the following: First setup a collection of Bluetooth beacons, one in the center of each room. Next make a room map of these with appropriate connections in the style of say, the Zork game. The lounge connects to hallway connects to dining room. Next hack together a small computer which talks. The _only_ thing that has any hope of helping is a voice g

    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      ... the Zork game.

      Sure, it's all fun and games until they end up in a closet where they can't find a light switch. They'll probably be eaten by a grue! It's pretty likely, after all. I bet the laundry room will be as complicated as the dam. What if they hit the maze on the way to the dining room? Hmm?

  • a random walk algorithm.

  • This is what they used to do at the preschool I went to. It won't work for every situation but should help most of the time. You will also need some buy-in from the workers at the care home, they may not agree to it. Simple solution is color-coded lines along the floor. Red line goes from bedrooms to the dining area, green line to the rec room, etc... Add a few arrows here and there so they don't get lost when multiple red lines converge... He just has to remember the line he's on. 90% of the time it sh
  • or he will be scammed.
  • What about a small laminated map that can fit in his pocket? Maybe with a hole in it so it can be tied a belt loop in his trousers.

  • 4 inch wide tape in different colors on the floor, with text in it saying where each strip leads to.
    Works on hospitals (Here in Denmark) for guiding patients around. Just follow the red line to the waiting room, or the yellow to x-ray.

  • A memory aid dog. An acquaintance of my brother has a brain injury, and he uses (and actually trains) dogs to help him around. Might not be practical in an assisted living situation though. Read more about him here. https://www.psychologytoday.co... [psychologytoday.com] http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/... [www.cbc.ca]
  • Create a schedule based turn by turn directions type system waiting on confirmation from the user. I think an Ipad with a nice kid safe cover and maybe a shoulder strap would be a good idea. Below is my idea of how it would work out.

    You setup schedule items for the different tasks that need to be completed at certain times.

    The Ipad dings/vibrates/flashes or does something to get attention of the user.
    Text comes up on the screen asking a basic question. "It is 12pm would you like to go have lunch?" then you

  • Didn't Disneyland and Disneyworld solve this years ago with rented guide bears, stuffed bears programmed with maps of the park and local guide beacons in nearly every area of their tourist parks?

  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @05:54AM (#50742099) Journal

    This is going to depend a lot on the form of dementia. If you'll forgive a horrible over-simplification, the big question is whether you are dealing with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or with one of the progressive forms, of which Alzheimer's and Vascular Dementia are the most common varieties. I've had one grandparent with MCI and another with Vascular Dementia and they require very different responses.

    If you're dealing with MCI (and it is the most common form of dementia), then some kind of technological solution might get you somewhere, depending on how comfortable your relative is with technology. MCI tends to advance slowly and the symptoms could remain mild for years to come. A device that gives a few easily-recognised prompts might help.

    If you are dealing with one of the progressive forms of dementia, then forget it. With Alzheimer's and Vascular Dementia, the symptoms will progress rapidly and viciously. Your relative's current state, where he is basically coherent but forgetful, will not last long. His personality will rapidly change and, over time, he will appear to withdraw into himself completely (though you will potentially pass through stages along the way where he wanders and becomes depressed or even aggressive). Within a year or two, he is going to require full-time nursing assistance for even basic bodily functions and he will increasingly not even recognise close family members. There are some interim steps you can take to manage your relative's quality of life in the early-to-mid stages, but clever technological tricks are not likely to play a role.

    Vascular Dementia took about 3 years from diagnosis (so probably 4-5 years after initial symptoms) to turn my granddad into what was basically a hollow shell. The progression is not the same in every case; while the usual pattern is for short term memory to go first, the point we realised my granddad had something more than MCI was when his long term memory was damaged fairly suddenly and he lost all recollection of everything before the age of 20 or so (including the fact that he had grown up in Ireland and only moved to England in his late-teens).

    You might already have done this and just not thought to mention it in the article you submitted, but I would suggest that your first step should be to seek a diagnosis. Only once you have that can you begin to think about how best to manage things and whether technology has a role to play.

  • "I am looking for a navigation system suitable for use indoors that will help him move around. "

    The navigation systems you're looking for is a 'sign'.
    You put them on walls in eye height saying "This way to the kitchen' or "down here for the restrooms."

  • It is crucial to understand what problems your relative is suffering, and how advanced they are. Some forms of dementia mean that people cannot form new memories, however much they try. It's not like forgetting where your keys are - it is no longer biologically possible to ever remember where you put them. It doesn't matter how easy it seems to remind or make it "easy" to remember, it is a function that doesn't work any more.

    You also need to understand what other cognitive impairments he is subject to. Ther

  • You're going to have to stay low tech with this, and become 'disruptive'... but only slightly. The environment is probably far more sterile (less nav clues) than the places he has lived most of his life.

    Find some stickers that are well shaped arrows in bright colors, not too large but big enough to be seen at a glance. Place the stickers at eye level on the wall in the hallway across from his door so the arrows are the first thing he sees when he leaves the room. At every left/right junction, another arrow

  • If he can't remember where the chow hall is and can't remember where his bedroom is, exactly how is he going to remember how to use a phone or any other device? Once a person is to this point they need more than just assisted living. It's time for a home.

    Personally I am starting to see the humanity in a more brutal time where large land predators picked off the old, the weak, and the sick (and the stupid).

    Slowly fading away like that would be hell.

  • It needs a talking Roomba. "Lunchtime, Ted! Follow me."

    And as a bonus, it cleans the corridors as it goes.

  • Based on personal experience, you can forget technological aids. Sorry. It's all about getting the right environment and the right carers.

    One of my top ten 'clever solutions' to a problem was used (perhaps devised?) by a care home near me. They had a long driveway and trouble with residents who had a nice patio area to use wandering off and getting lost. So the home got a bus shelter built near the bottom of the drive. No buses, just an authentic shelter. Residents would get lost, wander around a bit, spot

  • The only useful system would be operated by the facility. It would involve a server tracking the residents. It would feel somewhat like the Star Trek computer. Older efforts would have involved the resident carrying a card or pen that the system could ping (and such systems exist), but cards can be forgotten by residents, and existing designs can't tell which way the resident is looking, which is important for being able to give instructions like "turn around". Modern computer vision techniques might be
  • but 24/7 oversight is not an option

    It is in a higher acuity setting, like a skilled nursing facility.

  • I also think he's unlikely to adopt a new device, but if he already wears a watch and you can switch it for one of the new smart watches, that might work.

    The watch would have to do three things:

    1) Generate an audible reminder when it needs to be recharged. You could write an app that measures battery charge and when low, the watch shouts in a loud female voice (travels farther than a male voice) that the watch needs to be plugged in for recharge.

    2) Navigate to and from the dining room. This will NOT work

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