Lost and found: Ja­pan tags de­men­tia suf­fer­ers with bar­codes

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

TOKYO: A Ja­panese city has in­tro­duced a novel way to keep track of se­nior cit­i­zens with de­men­tia who are prone to get­ting lost-tag­ging their fin­gers and toes with scan-able bar­codes.

A com­pany in Iruma, north of Tokyo, de­vel­oped tiny nail stick­ers, each of which car­ries a unique iden­tity num­ber to help con­cerned fam­i­lies find miss­ing loved ones, ac­cord­ing to the city’s so­cial wel­fare of­fice.

The ad­he­sive QR-coded seals for nails-part of a free ser­vice launched this month and a first in Ja­pan-mea­sure just one cen­time­ter (0.4 inches) in size. “Be­ing able to at­tach the seals on nails is a great ad­van­tage,” a city worker told AFP. “There are al­ready ID stick­ers for clothes or shoes but de­men­tia pa­tients are not al­ways wear­ing those items.” If an el­derly per­son be­comes dis­ori­en­tated, po­lice will find the lo­cal city hall, its tele­phone num­ber and the wearer’s ID all em­bed­ded in the QR code.

The chips re­main at­tached for an av­er­age of two weeks-even if they get wet-the of­fi­cial said, cit­ing re­cent tri­als. Ja­pan is grap­pling with a rapidly age­ing pop­u­la­tion with se­nior cit­i­zens ex­pected to make up a whop­ping 40 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion around 2060.

Last month, Ja­panese po­lice started of­fer­ing noo­dle dis­counts at lo­cal restau­rants to el­derly cit­i­zens who agreed to hand in their driv­ing li­censes.

The of­fer fol­lowed a se­ries of deadly ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing el­derly driv­ers-a grow­ing prob­lem in a coun­try where 4.8 mil­lion peo­ple aged 75 or older hold a li­cense. — AFP

IRUMA, Ja­pan : This pic­ture taken on De­cem­ber 5, 2016 shows a city of­fi­cer dis­play­ing a QR code on his fin­ger­nail near the Iruma city hall in Iruma, Saitama pre­fec­ture, a western sub­urb of Tokyo. —AFP

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