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Finding the way home

Has anyone looked at a way of helping people with dementia to find their way home from going for a walk?  Mobile phones have built in GPS and there must surely be a way of making them track the journey taken from home to where the person is now and giving instructions as to how to get home, with each change of direction being gently and carefully described, with corrections if the take a wrong turn.

GPS systems in cars rely on concatenated speech samples to give guidance and they can be a bit unfriendly.  Generally they consist of complete phrases such at "At the roundabout take the" followed by a "first, second, third etc" followed by "exit" The system should allow for a friend or relative to record a friendlier set of messages like "Granny, shall be go home now" (triggered by a pre-programmed distance from home) and "please turn around and face the other way" instead of "do a U turn when it is safe to do so".

Given that it's likely to cover only a relatively small walking distance geography and the journey so far can be tracked, a built in map is probably not necessary and it should be possible to build a stand alone device not relying on connection to the mobile phone network.

The time to start using it would be when the person first experiences nervousness about the direction home - at an early stage of the development of dementia, like taking a walking stick to steady yourself even though you can still walk without it.

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