Doylestown, PA, December 02, 2023 –Dementia Society of America® announces the upcoming launch of a design competition in 2024 and invites innovators to craft a simple, low-cost, scalable, wearable identification aimed at increasing the safety of persons living with Dementia, in instances of life-threatening elopement and critical wandering. Elopement is an occurrence where a person living with Dementia leaves a safe area undetected, typically the home or community in which they live. There are many triggers, but commonly, the individual may be experiencing delusions and have the intention of going “home,” to “work,” or back to a meaningful place from their youth. They may also believe they are being held against their will by “strangers.” Critical wandering occurs when the person living with Dementia becomes severely disoriented and lost. They usually cannot find their way back to safety and may be unable to communicate medical needs, emergency contacts, or where they live. Critically, they are at significant risk for bodily harm.
The envisioned wearable will aid first responders, medical teams, and Good Samaritans in swiftly identifying individuals living with Dementia and reuniting them with loved ones. “This competition isn’t only about great design; it’s about safety, love, and respect,” says Kevin Jameson, volunteer, president, and founder of the Dementia Society of America. “We’re asking individuals with great talent and imagination to help us create a unique solution to existing alternatives. The design must check all boxes, and importantly, not stigmatize the wearer.”
This initiative will focus on generating interest in high schools, colleges, and universities. The Dementia Society will afford national and international exposure to the challenge winners.
Thanks to financial support from several foundations, this design competition is a new initiative associated with Operation KeepSafe®, the Dementia Society’s nationwide program that assists individuals and families facing Dementia and incidents of elopement and critical wandering. “We believe the power of design can offer revolutionary solutions to everyday challenges faced by those living with Dementia,” adds Jameson. “Through this competition, we hope to harness collective creativity to help at-risk individuals living with Dementia maintain their dignity, provide their identity when found or unable to communicate, and quickly reunite them with their loved ones.”