In a small town in Japan, a brand new system allows elderly people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia to avoid getting lost. A barcode containing the information of identity, telephone contacts and domiciliation is attached to one of their fingernails.
North of Tokyo, in Japan, we find the city of Iruma and its 150,000 inhabitants. In order to prevent seniors with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or any other condition that can cause disorientation from getting lost, the city has implemented a brand new system. A mini barcode is affixed to a fingernail or toenail. This contains all the necessary information in case of loss in the city. A very unusual system that still raises some ethical questions.
This is a free service launched by the social assistance service of the city of Iruma in order to help families find their lost relatives. » Being able to fix this code on a fingernail is a great advantage “says a municipal official. » There are already ID tags attached to some clothes and shoes, but people don’t always wear them « . Identity, telephone number of relatives or even home address are information that can be directly consulted by the police on this small label of one centimeter on the side.
A measure that comes in response to the marked aging of the population that Japan is experiencing, where it is expected that 40% of the population will be senior (over 65) in 2060. Another related problem, the growing number of road accidents involving older drivers. In Japan, 4.8 million people aged 75 or over still use their driver’s license. These « barcode » labels can stay stuck to the nail for up to two weeks, even if they are wet.