Project SenTra

The Use of Advanced Tracking Technologies for the Analysis of Mobility in Alzheimer's Disease and Related Cognitive Disorders


Project Description

As the world's population ages, dementia-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease are becoming more prevalent, and constitute a serious threat to the health and well-being of older adults. One of the more common behavioural manifestations of dementia-related disorders is severe problems with out-of-home mobility. It is not uncommon for people with dementia to go missing, or to be found seriously injured, or dead. Various efforts have been attempted to attain a better understanding of mobility behaviour in case of dementia, but most studies are based on institutionalized patients. Also, the assessment of out-of-home mobility usually relies on reports of family caregivers and institutional staff, using observational approaches, activity monitoring, or behavioural checklists.

The project SenTra (Senior Tracking, the key method of the project) started in January 2007 and will address the measurement of mobility in Alzheimer’s disease and related cognitive disorders over a period of five years in an innovative way, by taking advantage of advanced tracking technologies. Our focus will be on demented persons, mildly cognitively impaired persons, and unimpaired controls. The obtained data will be used to develop typologies of out-of-home behaviour among these study groups. Additional statistical analyses will strive for the explanation of differences in mobility based on a wide range of socio-structural, personality-related as well as environment-related variables. We will also assess the impact of the use of advanced tracking technology on the quality of life of dementia patients and care givers, as well as its potential as a diagnostic tool.

The explicit consideration of ethical aspects involved in the use of tracking technology will be a substantial component throughout the project. The proposed project is a collaborative effort between researchers in Israel (Hebrew University; Tel Aviv University) and Germany (University of Heidelberg; University of Kiel). It is an interdisciplinary project involving researchers from Geography, Social Work, Gerontology, Psychology, and Medicine.

First review, Ruperto Carola 2009

Project Directorship (PI and Co-PIs)


  • Klinik für Allgemeine Psychiatrie, Sektion Gerontopsychiatrische Forschung, Universität Heidelberg, Prof. Dr. Johannes Schröder
  • Institut für Sozialrecht und Sozialpolitik in Europa, Universität Kiel, Prof. Dr. Gerhard Igl

Scientific Project Staff

  • Dr. Elke Voß

Project partner at the Institute of Geography

  • Prof. Dr. Tim Freytag

Project partner in Israel


  • German-Israeli Project Cooperation at the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF)


  • 01.01.2007 - 31.12.2011
Foto: Kick-off meeting in Heidelberg, February 8-8, 2007
The SenTra Research Consortium


Responsible: Email
Latest Revision: 2016-04-13
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