When Kenneth Shinozuka was four years old, his beloved grandfather, Deming, started to show signs of Alzheimer’s Disease. Just a few years later, Deming started wandering in the middle of the night. After one instance in which Deming wandered all the way onto a freeway, Kenneth knew something had to be done to protect his grandfather.
Kenneth tried to find a device that would quickly alert him when his grandfather wandered out of bed, but to no avail. He then decided to take matters into his own hands and created a sensor that reacts to pressure. He attached the sensor to the bottom of a sock to be worn by Alzheimer’s patients as they sleep. The second the patient’s foot touches the ground, the sensor sends a signal to a cell phone to alert caregivers or family members of wandering. The sock sensor is so effective that it detected each of the 437 recognized cases of Deming’s wandering, and it did so without any false alarms.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than five million Americans are living with the disease, and it estimates that by the year 2050 the number of people living with Alzheimer’s in the US could reach 16 million. With statistics like that, it’s not hard to see why Kenneth’s invention has so much potential to help people. According to research published by Jane Tilly, DrPH and Peter Reed, PhD for the Alzheimer’s Association, the statistics on the number of Alzheimer’s patients that wander are a bit unclear. This is due to the fact that there is not an explicit definition of “wandering.” Tilly and Reed claim that estimates of the prevalence of wandering range from 6% to 100%. Even if the lower end of this estimate were the correct statistic, it would mean that hundreds of thousands of Americans with Alzheimer’s wander. With risks such as serious injury to oneself or others as a result of wandering, it’s apparent where the problem arises.
We were completely blown away by Kenneth’s creation. We knew we had to share this story so that word of this brilliant invention would spread. With Alzheimer’s already affecting so many people, and with the number affected rising, it’s important to take whatever measures possible to keep these people safe. This sensor will also relieve some of the burden that caregivers experience in caring for Alzheimer’s patients. All around, the innovation benefits everyone involved.
Make sure to watch the video to see how Kenneth is spreading use of the sensor, as well as to see the remarkable relationship that he has with his grandfather. Kenneth and Deming’s story is remarkable and is absolutely worth the watch.
What do you think of Kenneth’s invention? Were you as impressed as we were? Let us know in the comments below!