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Launched in 2011, Living Well with Dementia was a Design Challenge run in partnership with the Department of Health to improve the lives of those affected by dementia. One of the five innovative solutions created through the challenge, Buddi is an easy-to-wear personal alarm wristband that can send alerts from anywhere to Buddi’s support services.
Personal alarms are a widely available product that enable the elderly to maintain independence by ensuring that they can get help when they need it. Unfortunately, in practice, they are often not worn because they are unattractive and cumbersome and can make users feel stigmatised and vulnerable. Furthermore, these devices tend not to work outside the home.
As this video created during Buddi's development stage shows, the wristband is comfortable, discreet and can be worn anywhere. To avoid battery replacement and daily charging, it is is designed to be as power efficient as possible. It comes with a rechargeable battery that offers at least two months of battery life.
While wearability is Buddi's greatest innovation, the device also has more functionality than any other on the market and continually offers new features.
- Manual emergency alert: When users press the alert buttons for help, Buddi's 24/7 monitoring service can find information about their location, talk to them through the device to establish the kind of assistance required and notify their emergency contacts.
- Automatic fall alert: If a user has a fall, the wristband automatically detects it and calls for assistance. As many falls and emergencies happen when bathing, the wristband is waterproof.
- Lifestyle monitoring: Buddi tracks activity during the day and monitors sleep at night. Since dementia is progressive, needs will change. Buddi users or their carers set personal expected activity levels. If a user’s activity levels significantly diminish, contact is made with the user or carer.
- Online monitoring: Carers can keep an eye on activity levels without being present, meaning that users are never really alone.