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Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Skye, Dec 27, 2007.
Report on the BBC site about AS position:
This is my first attempt at posting a message on this board. My mum had Alzheimer's and she died two years ago. I remember how quickly she could disappear and there were a couple of very worrying times when she went out of the front door and was nowhere in sight. I think some form of electronic tagging would be very useful to give the carer peace of mind, I'm sure there is the technology for the tag to simply signal the carer when the person is moving away from them and this would be a great aid when shopping or when the person is likely to open the front door.
Hi Diane, welcome to TP.
I'm sure you're right. We've discussed ET on the site before. The only problem seems to be the infringement of civil liberties. It's OK if the person agrees to wear one, but many are beyond the stage where thay would understand the need, so would the consent be valid?
I know when John was at home and walking freely, I would have been glad of such a device, I could never relax when he was out of the house.
I have deleted references to a commercial web site as this contravenes Talking Point guidelines http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/talkin...ocuments_info.php?categoryID=2&documentID=66]
We've tried using tracking devices and find that patients can be completely aware of the issues and still judge that they would rather be tracked. In our experience, they are used to enhance rather than restrict freedom.
My Mum does not require tagging as she is in a secure home but if anything is attached to her...watches,rings etc she always manages to remove them and we never see them again. A wrist tagging system would have to be very secure to resist her tampering.
What about an electronic chip like we can have put in our dogs?
What good is protecting someones civil rights if they end up under a bus having wandered off?
Hi Hazel, thanks for replying
Its a valid point to discuss the civil liberties but I feel that when a person is no longer able to make decisions for themselves you just have to bite the bullet and decide the best action for them. The one thing my mum never lost was her smile. She carried us without knowing it throught the worst times. Keep things in perspective and keep your sense of humour - thats the best advice I can give to anyone dealing with this now.
This is one of the discussions we have had recently
My primary problem with these technology based solutions is that they are never designed as I would design them - something that is waterproof and not easily removed. Frankly, if I took my watch off everytime I had a shower, for example, I would generally be wandering around without my watch. I think these things, and the "alert" things, need to be made sufficiently small so that they can be put on and kept on without thinking about it so that they are always there.
A friend of mine with Alzheimer's wandered off and was killed in an accident on the main road, what was that about civil liberty?
The tagging system in use by courts is waterproof and requires a determined effort to remove - a similar system could be of great benefit to carers and would ensure the safety of sufferers.
Tracking Devices Are Wonderful!
It was strange coincidence that these GPS tracking devices were in the news today ..... and that the one I bought for my Dad was able to prove its worth for the first time today as well.
I posted a request some time ago about other people's experiences with these and someone (name escapes me) posted a useful link about a TR101 device. This was the cheapest option I could find for a GPS device (and also the manufacturer's website gave access to documents explaining exactly how it would work and what was required which I liked), although it does require you to have a person at home base to take the latitude and longtitude values that the device sends to you in a text message and input them into Google maps in order to be able to work out where the position of the device actually is.
However ...... back history first! I wasn't sure initially how Dad would take to having this thing on him...... it's not as small as I would have liked..... just slightly bigger than a mobile phone. However, I put it in a little snap-top plastic bag with a message from me to say that Dad was to keep it in his pocket so that I wouldn't worry about him ...... you see, initially he was very indignant about it ..... 'I don't get lost!'
So .... this evening..... Mum phones because Dad has been out a lot longer than she was expecting. They live in Enfield, but from 2 messages we sent to it, we could see that he was in Edmonton and going south...... the opposite direction. So.... left husband at home to do the tracking and I and my son went out in the car. Husband sent some more messages as we got closer to Edmonton...... he seemed to be travelling rather fast..... must be on a bus! Oh Dear..... this could be tricky. I had visions of stalking a bus and hijacking it to find my Dad (I can see the headlines now!). However, as we then got closer, he was moving slower so we guessed he had got off the bus. However, trying to drive slowly and look for someone is not easy, so we parked and walked along based on what my husband was telling me over my son's phone. And..... it worked a treat, found him within about 5 minutes. He was glad to see us; he does realise he's not sure where he is. However, he does like to go out for long walks and, to be honest, my Mum can't keep up with him. Infact ...... I'm not sure I could either! Just before Christmas, we took him over Bluewater and spend all day walking round. The next day, my legs ached terribly ...... but my 76 year old Dad was perfectly fine!
So, is carrying this device an infringement of his liberties? I don't think so. What else would we do? Drug him to stop him going out in the first place? That would be a more worse infringement surely?
Anyhow...... from initial phone call to us in Cheshunt at 6.10pm to finding him, taking him home and coming home ourselves at about 7pm or thereabouts, I think the device is brilliant! Mum doesn't have to worry too much and we can find him easily.
Believe me, the last time Mum thought he was out longer than expected, I started to go out in the car with the intention of looking round the streets closer to his home...... but realistically where would you start? And if he was where he was today, I would never have found him!
So..... the articles in the paper today were trying slightly to be alarmist ..... but I think these devices are great!
Moderators, I think this topic warrants some exposure.
I, too, heard the newsclips today, and I remember thinking "infringement of what rights?", what about the poor families in great trouble trying to find their missing relatives, and what about the poor sufferer not knowing where they are? Never mind the mobile-phone-sized device, what is wrong with an implant? or an ankle strap like criminals have?
I support this 100% until someone can tell me why not.
Moderator Note: I have merged two threads (this one and Tracking Devices are Wonderful)
I have to say I hate the thought of 'an ankle strap like criminals have'.
I know where you're coming from but if it had been used first as a tracking device for dementia sufferers, would you feel so uneasy?
The device we've got for Dad works now because of the stage he's at. He knows the immediate area and also a far bit further away but what seems to happen is that he'll get on a bus but he'll get off at what he thinks is the right stop, doesn't recognise where he is and then panics a bit and wanders round trying to locate a familiar place. I think he must then get back on buses possibly but it's a bit of luck as to how quickly he gets back to a familiar place.
Of course, if he goes out with a different coat on, we'll be in trouble! This might be more of an issue as the weather starts to warm up and he varies the coat he wants to wear.
I had hoped I could find something the size of a credit card so I could have slotted it in with his bus pass..... that really would be ideal. He always goes out with his bus pass.
Of course, if he gets to the stage where he gets up in the middle of the night and goes out in his night clothes, it won't be any good any more. However, for the stage he's at at the moment, it's ideal. He has his independance .... believe me, trying to confine him at home would be difficult to impossible .... and Mum doesn't have to worry too much if he goes out on his own.
I can only assume tags have come on a very great deal since I was a probation officer. In those days all a tag actually did was send a message to say the tagged person wasnt at home in range of the tracking box at the time they should be...it certainly didnt say where they were or give any more info than that.
This was a long time ago so presumably they are a lot more sophisticated..or at least have the potential to be ..but from what I understand from former work colleagues the ones used for offenders still only give very basic information.
That's a good question Elaine and I honestly don't know the answer! However, if a tracking device looked the same as one that was used for criminals then that could cause a lot of problems for the wearer - would you help someone you thought was possibly a dangerous criminal?
I suppose we were 'lucky' in that mum was never a wanderer - she would wander around the hospital ward or the emi home but never attempted to leave so we never actually 'lost' her. Obviously it must be a tremendous strain and worry for the carers when this does happen, as well as being extremely distressing for the 'wanderer'.
I would imagine that the more up-to-date ones work on the same kind of technology as sat nav devices do. I don't know how precise they are though - if for instance they told you the wearer was in a certain road, would you know what part of the road?
I'm not sure that the "offender" anklets operate in the same way at all as the GPS tagging devices. I think GPS is accurate from a few feet up to several yards.
No they don't My friend Son got one on at the moment , all it does is like Nat says
So if his not home for 8 pm it just sends a message to say his not at home, but would not tell them where he was .
His friend took the tag of , so got 6 months inside .
police left it for a week , which my friend and myself found very hard to believe , then found out they could just not find him . Then few weeks later her son telling us he got 6 months inside for taking it of, after police found him .
Mum is in a home where some dementia patients get tagged. She basically has a (functioning) watch that sends a signal to the carers' mobiles whenever she approaches the main door. The main door supposedly also locks if she gets too close (frankly, I've never tried), but she can move around the rest of the building and garden freely.
The tag requires judicial approval though - based on the question whether allowing her to move about freely would pose a danger to herself or others.
At first Mum hated it, but now she seems alright and always asks to have it back when we return from a walk outside the home.
Well, our experience yesterday is that they are pretty accurate. What you have to take into account is that you're tracking a moving target! You send a blank text message to the mobile phone SIM card that is inside the unit. This triggers the GPS unit to check its position and then it then sends a reply text message with this information as part of the text. There's only a delay of around less than a minute before the position text comes through...... but a person can walk quite a way in around a minute! When it was obvious that Dad wasn't on a bus, my son and I decided that trying to see him from the car was too difficult and that we could walk faster than my Dad. So we parked the car and walked, following my husband's directions as to where he was last. Luckily, it's an area I know well, so the streets names made sense and also, luckily, Dad was walking towards us on the other side of the road as he'd turned round and was walking in the opposite direction to where he had been walking ..... this was the main High Road but the sort of road where I could shout to him to get his attention. If he'd got on another bus without us seeing him, we'd have had to go back to the car and try again which would have delayed things. Also, we may have been slower if it was an unknown area as we would have had to have got more directions from my husband.
However, I'm very pleased with how it performed (and relieved that we found him so quickly).
There is also an SOS button on the device that the person can press if they feel lost to trigger it to send the position text message to the programmed list of mobile phone numbers that you set on the device (BTW ..... you do need to have a PC in order to initially set it up which might be a problem for some people?). I Haven't shown my Dad how to use this SOS button. I'm pretty sure he'd forget although I could put a simple instruction for this on the bit of paper in the plastic snap-top bag it's in. I'm not entirely sure about that one! At the moment, by and large he forgets it's in his pocket. If he did remember to get it out, it looks like a mobile phone and whilst he's fiddling with it, he could be at increased risk from muggers. Not sure about that one!