Home Health Dementia group urges Taiwan govt to subsidise GPS devices

Dementia group urges Taiwan govt to subsidise GPS devices

Taiwan: The Taiwan Alzheimer’s Disease Association urged the government to subsidise GPS tracking devices for individuals, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease which causes dementia. The Association said equipping sufferers of the illness with the device will prevent them from wandering in the streets and enable family members to find them easily. However, “A GPS locator is just too expensive for an average family to afford,” said Tang Li-yu, secretary-general of the association.

The service would likely include a NTD 6,000 (NTD – New Taiwan Dollar) cellphone-like tracking device with a monthly maintenance fee of NTD 600, according to a local provider. “As much as we would like to have senior patients use GPS, it’s just too costly,” said Yu Fang-ling, a public relations officer at Saint Mary’s Hospital in Luodong.

Yu’s hospital received 20 free GPS devices from Taiwan Secom Company, a local provider, several years ago. The hospital has been distributing and redistributing them to elders living alone and those with chronic ailments.

However, the company’s spokesman, Max Chu, said the market for elderly people using GPS devices is not as large as the company had expected.

Well-off families prefer to hire a caregiver to follow their loved ones around, whereas other families may keep dementia patients at home at all times, he said. There are only about 3,000 clients, including children and the elderly, using a GPS locator in Taiwan, he added.

Source: Taipei Times