By Anna Lin
According to Alzheimer’s Association’s data, six in 10 dementia patients will wander and the majority are found within 1.5 mile radius from the place they disappeared.
Minnesota tech startup Endle, aiming to address the problem of wandering Alzheimer’s patients, has developed a wearable web-based tracking device that helps to prevent those with dementia from being separated from their caregivers.
Endle’s technology system enables caregivers to set a geographic zone online for patients wearing the company’s small GPS device. If patients travel outside of the set zone, the caregiver will receive a text-message alert on a mobile phone and can go online to quickly to find the exact location of the patient.
“We connect caregivers with technology to keep wondering loved ones safe,” Endle CEO Alex Feeken said.
Feeken is joined by a dozen teammates from the Entrepreneurship In Action class in the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Program mentor John Stavig said he believes in the long-term viability of Endle because it is tackling a real problem first, then figuring out how to reap a monetary reward.
Feeken says the product is a good fit for both in home and institutional care facilities; they are currently implementing its business model and sales strategy through a subscription-based service.
Endle Chief Technical Officer Hunter Dunbar decided to use eTrak’s product because it is one of the few that incorporates a Wi-Fi feature that reduces the limitations receiving signals compared to traditional GPS devices. Endle is authorized to resell eTrak’s products and plans to develop better prototypes soon.
“We bring the technology to organizations, train them how to use it, and set it up for them,” Feeken said.
“The in-home market is the ‘golden goose’ of this technology where it can be really effective,”Feeken added. “The real benefit of it is going to tell the families ‘You have the freedom of keeping your loved one at home safe without putting them in nursing home.”