It may initially seem that keeping tabs on the elderly is somewhat “Big Brother-esque” but if it can save lives, then the latest venture hailing from Iruma, Japan, may actually be most welcome.
A city in Japan – Iruma (close to Tokyo) are starting to supply miniscule QR Code Stickers (which are waterproof) to families who are caring for someone who is elderly who is at risk of wandering off due to dementia or other age-related diseases.
These stickers are very easy to apply and can remain on the individual for up to a month. They can be put onto a fingernail if there is a fear that the person will forget to take it with them (for those who can take on that responsibility, they can attach theirs to a key holder).
That would be Part 1 of the program. Should it expand, later on, if anyone should happen to see an older individual who seems lost or disoriented, they could scan their stickers with their smartphones and then the app would tell them the registration number of the person who has the sticker, giving them additional important data such as hometown, telephone number, etc.
The major goal of this is to facilitate the reunification of the missing person with their families. And even if it does seem a bit extreme, given that Japan is so expansive, the population is increasingly aging and millions are now afflicted with dementia, this could actually ultimately be a life-saving device.
GPS devices were used for this purpose in the past but it was reported that the elderly would forget to take them with them. with the option of imprinting this code onto the fingernails, that problem is eliminated. And, vis-à-vis security concerns, it was reported that information such as the individual’s name and address would not be included to ensure that those individuals whose criteria is to cause harm would not gain anything from scanning the QR code on their phone. Rather, they would be used by those people wanting to help find their loved ones.