A care facility in Exeter is testing a pair of socks that can monitor the levels of anxiety and anguish in dementia patients.
A University of Exeter study examining the advantages of so-called Smart Socks includes The Old Rectory.
The socks are a type of wearable technology that tracks mobility, sweat, and heart rate.
According to project coordinators, goals included preventing falls, enhancing welfare, and fostering independence.John Piper, 83, is the first local to have the socks fitted.
Mr. Piper, a former electronics engineer who has resided in the facility since November 2022, said he did not mind serving as a test subject despite having dementia.
I’m thrilled with everything that’s straightforward and uncomplicated and that enhances how we view life as a whole, he declared.
Dementia is an illness that can be difficult to treat, and The Old Rectory specialises in it.Its occupants have a variety of requirements, such as cognitive and physical limitations.
Any technology, according to manager Kerry Dempsey, that aids those who find it difficult to communicate is welcome.
Anything that might lower anxiety and thereby improve a person’s wellbeing, she said, “has to be a complete bonus.”Dr. Zeke Steer, an expert in robotics and artificial intelligence, is the creator of the socks.
After learning that his great grandmother had dementia, he developed the technology.He claimed that socks were more likely to be tolerated than a wrist-worn device because they were a common piece of apparel.
Due to the great density of sweat glands, we also know that the foot is one of the best places on the human body for gauging stress.
An app receives signals from sensors in the socks, and if the monitored levels are rising, the app alerts a carer.
Staff can intervene thanks to the early notice before the situation worsens and becomes a sign of distress.
The university is working with Dr. Steer’s business, Milbotix, to investigate if the socks actually enhance care.According to Dr. Byron Creese, “Smart Socks address the huge clinical need for effective and safe management of agitation, pain, and distress in dementia.”
A larger experiment that will begin next month will also involve a smaller group of residents.