Technology promoting independence of dementia patients

Date: 18/11/2019

Christmas shopping will be a little bit easier for dementia sufferers and their carers this year as new technology designed to provide respite is trialled at a garden centre in Gwynedd.

Arloesi Gwynedd Wledig has joined forces with Fron Goch Garden Centre near Caernarfon to pilot ‘Wandersafe’ technology. Usually reserved for use in the care sector, this is the first time the technology has been used at commercial premises. The aim is to give a person living with dementia freedom to walk around the garden centre independently as well as give their carer peace of mind that they are safe.

The system works by providing the person with dementia a lanyard with a sensor attached to it, whilst their carer carries a pager. If the person with the sensor walks towards the main entrance the pager sounds notifying the carer.

Rhian Hughes of Arloesi Gwynedd Wledig said: “We were delighted when Fron Goch agreed to work with us on this project. Those living with dementia often report that they feel frustration as they gradually lose their independence and become more reliant on the care of others. This technology will hopefully give back some of their dignity and confidence.”

Justin Williams, owner of Fron Goch added: “We are always keen to improve our customer experience and were more than happy to trial this technology at the centre. From now until Christmas is our busiest period and we understand it can be even more daunting for our customers who live with dementia or similar conditions and their carers. The Wandersafe technology will give them peace of mind whilst they are with us and hopefully make Christmas shopping here less stressful.”

Dafydd Roberts cares for his partner who has lived with dementia for two years. He said: “We have used Wandersafe at Fron Goch several times. It’s great and means both of us can have a little freedom to wander around independently. It has made a big difference to us. It would be good to see the system being rolled out at more locations like this in the area.”

Arloesi Gwynedd Wledig is monitoring the use of the technology at Fron Goch. If the pilot is successful, the lessons learnt will be shared with other businesses around Gwynedd to encourage them to invest and make use of the technology.

This project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government. It’s also part funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Gwynedd Council.