My name’s Natalie and I’m 25-year-old entrepreneur who’s trying to make a difference. For the past 2 years I’ve been developing a wearable product that I hope will change the lives of families who are looking after those who may be more vulnerable.
Inspired by my own mom who’s cared for people with dementia for 15 years, I wanted to create a simple and affordable device that would keep them safer from wandering: a common and very dangerous side effect of dementia.
My product is called the Proximity Button. The Button is a small, light badge that is worn by the person with dementia. The Button connects to the carer’s smartphone via Bluetooth. If the person wearing the Button wanders too far from the carer and their smartphone, the phone alarms to alert the carer. The Proximity Button is a simple warning device to protect loved ones from wandering too far in the first place.
I’ve always been very aware of wandering issues within dementia due to my mom; however, it wasn’t until I began crowdfunding that I realised what a prevalent problem it is within autistic children too. A few days in to our campaign, a father in Philadelphia emailed me to say he had purchased a Proximity Button for his son who has autism. We had a Skype call shortly after as I really wanted to understand more and found how I/Proximity could help. Ralph explained that he loved the simplicity of Proximity and also the price point – there are some great products out there to hep with wandering but they often have a huge price tag. It was great to hear such positive feedback!