Subsidization of GPS location trackers to help prevent senior citizens with dementia from going missing

Long-term Care Insurance to benefit the use of GPS location trackers and portable ramps beginning this July 

The Ministry of Health and Welfare (Minister Chin Young) said that it will support the use of GPS trackers and portable ramps through the Long-term Care Insurance beginning July 1st to help prevent patients with dementia from going missing, and also help resolve the inconveniences that wheelchair users must face.

The GPS location tracking service notifies guardians or family members of the location of senior citizens with dementia through GPS communication, and therefore helps prevent elderly people from going missing.

The portable ramp allows wheelchair users to board vehicles.

Previously the cost of using a GPS location tracker was 250,000 won per year (132,000 won for the device and a 9,900 won monthly communication fee), but from July 1st, beneficiaries of the Long-term Care Insurance will be able to rent the tracker at 2,970 won per month (35,640 won for one year).

The portable ramp will be available for rent at 3,450 won per month.

Vulnerable people who go missing due to dementia will be able to apply for the tracker rental service if they are Long-term Care Insurance subscribers, while the ramp rental service will be available for insurance beneficiaries at centers for welfare equipment.

Center for welfare equipment: A home-based long-term care facility which provides welfare equipment registered to the city, county, or district offices, with 1,500 facilities being operated as of late 2012.

According to statistics by the National Police Agency, around 7,700 elderly people go missing every year, and patients with dementia whose cognitive functions have become impaired are particularly prone to go missing while they are wandering alone without a guardian nearby.

“The introduction of the GPS location tracker and the portable ramp is expected to prevent elderly people from going missing while lessening psychological and socioeconomic burdens of family members and guardians,” said the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

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