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Getting out and about: using technologies for safer walking

Using technologies for safer walking: A participative inquiry  Funded by the Alzheimer's Society

Everyone experiences getting lost. Getting lost is a distressing experience, and very rarely, for some people can have fatal consequences. Funded by the Alzheimer’s Society, this research investigates the use of technologies to promote safer walking.

(c) Shaeron-Caton Rose Pathway through the woods

What we do

Technologies are any knowledge or science applied to solve a problem. One technology that is currently used to promote safer walking is GPS – global positioning system – to enable a person’s whereabouts to be known at any time.

But there are other technologies that people with dementia and their families are using; and currently less is known about these. People may be using maps, signage, accessing help or the family dog that knows its way home. This research will examine these technologies alongside GPS technologies.

To find out about safer walking, this research takes a participative approach meaning that people with dementia and family members are involved at all levels of this research, along with professional and industry advisors.

Opinions about the use of these technologies vary, and to date, most research has focussed on what health and social care practitioners think about the technologies. Little is known about the experiences of people with dementia and their family/carers, or the police, so this research includes interviews with people with dementia, family members and the police. More information about the research is available here.

The aim of the project is to produce guidance for people with dementia and their families to use to decide what would help them with safer walking. Guidance will also be produced for practitioners, commissioners and the police. 

If you would like to participate in this project, please contact the team.

Who we are

To research this topic in depth, the research team includes health and social care social scientists Ruth Bartlett, Tula Brannelly and Caroline Holland; law and ethics academics John Coggon and Phil Palmer; and a computer engineering scientist, Alex Forrester. The project is partnered by Hampshire Constabulary and Southern Health.

New information is added regularly to our blog including progress updates, video clips from the team explaining the project in more detail and items of interest related to the topic. We would love to hear from you so please do leave us a comment. 

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