“There are over 5 million people with Alzheimer’s in the U.S. It is estimated that 60% wander out of bed. In addition, 1 out of 3 seniors are at risk of falling.
Each fall exacts a devastating physical and emotional toll not only to the patient but the family as well.”
Nighttime wandering (actually any-time-of-day wandering) is stressful and scary. 60% of Alzheimer and dementia patients are known to wander. With over 5.7million Alzheimer’s patients in the U.S., that’s a lot of people! Caregivers have countless sleepless nights, constantly in fear that tonight might be the night their loved one wanders, gets lost, or falls. This level of stress and sleeplessness is not sustainable and tremendously unhealthy for the caregiver.
When I heard about Kenneth’s SafeWander – first I was shocked that it is the first wearable sensor device of its kind, and then was even more shocked to find out that he was only 14 years old when he invented it!
Kenneth was on a mission to solve this problem when he discovered at age 4 that his beloved grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. His grandfather suffered from wandering and his aunt was unable to sleep at night, full of worry that her father would get out of bed and potentially hurt himself. Worried about the welfare of both his grandfather and his aunt, he researched and realized there was no viable solution on the market. And SafeWander was born.
Kenneth believes we are not utilizing smartphone and wireless technologies as much as we should to help alleviate many of the problems that older adults face. As I travel around the world, I am constantly in search of innovative ideas to help our growing aging population. Some are impressive, others not so much. But SafeWander can literally change the lives of many families. It functions well. It has a nice simple design and very well thought out. Check out our interview and see for yourself!
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ABOUT OUR GUEST
Kenneth Shinozuka, 19, is a junior at Harvard College, where he is studying neurobiology and philosophy. He is best known as the Founder and CEO of SensaRx, an NYC-based startup that has successfully launched the SafeWander wearable sensor products on www.safewander.com for bed-wandering detection and fall prevention. The SafeWander products were inspired by his own family’s struggles to care for his grandfather, an Alzheimer’s patient. For his achievements, Kenneth has been recognized with numerous awards and honors including the Scientific American Science in Action Award at the 2014 Google Science Fair, and has been a TED speaker, a White House Science Fair Exhibitor, a Davidson Fellow, and a WebMD Health Hero Prodigy. Kenneth is currently conducting research on Alzheimer’s disease at the Harvard Medical School. In his spare time, Kenneth maintains a blog, www.blankhorizons.com, which is devoted to the philosophical implications of contemporary advances in science.