Bingo Hall…Bridge Club…Bingo Hall…Bridge Club…

The first time I read this, I was very, very sad. Our collective IQ must be deteriorating if even inventors are getting stupid.

Ok, here’s the premise. They want to take Alzheimers patients and give them RFID tags so their caregivers can track their wanderings and, in theory, come find them when they get lost. The base has a range, and when the tag goes out of range, it alerts with an alarm. They claim that this would give the Alzheimers patient more freedom to rome. Anybody see a problem with this? I see several.

First off, the thing only beeps when the person goes out of range, so how do you go about finding your dear old lost soul? You would have to go in four directions if you wanted to have a hope of finding them.

Second, these folks aren’t the type who should be left free to rome. If their alzheimers is so serious that you’re worried they’ll wander off, when they’re “roming”, they’re not off to the store to get some milk or going down the street to visit a friend. Maybe they think they’re off to the store for milk, but they’re thinking of a store near where they used to live. Maybe they’re wanting to visit a friend who is now dead. Then they get lost. They most likely need supervision, not tracking! I understand that could be hard for family members, but if the person needs to be watched so closely, perhaps it’s time for the family to get some help caring for that person.

Third, the inventors of this stuff shouldn’t delude themselves for a second. People with degrees of dementia have moments of clarity, and in one of those, they could remove your handy dandy tracker before going off on a jaunt that they knew would be out of range, or they could just get pissed that you were making them wear an electronic monitoring device like some house arrest prisoner and remove it. Lots of Alzheimers patients are very angry as the memory slips more and more. wouldn’t you be if you think of yourself as independent, and now everything that you consider to be a solid recollection of what you’ve done is questioned, and you forget who these people are who are managing your life?

Finally, I think this thing gives caregivers too much peace of mind. They think they can just leave the person alone because the tracker will beep if they wander off. Hey dude, the tracker won’t beep if they leave the stove on and almost burn the house down, or drop something on themselves. They still need supervision!

I think we’re too quick to replace old-fashioned ways of doing things with technology that lets us sit back and do nothing. Sometimes that works, but sometimes it just makes no sense! I’m waiting for the first lawsuit filed when someone’s dear old grandma gets hurt and nobody knew about it because the tracker didn’t go off to tell them something was wrong.

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