1. Expert Q&A: Benefits - Weds 23 October, 3-4pm

    Our next expert Q&A will be on the topic of benefits. It will be hosted by Lauren from our Knowledge Services team. She'll be answering your questions on Wednesday 23 October between 3-4pm.

    You can either post your question >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.

  1. chickens

    chickens Registered User

    Jan 29, 2015
    2
    Hi,
    I wonder if anyone could help with advice on GPS trackers please?

    My partner's father has dementia and he sometimes walks off causing his mother no end of worry. He does like to go out for the paper every day which is just a very short walk and she doesn't want to take that freedom away from him if at all possible.

    She doesn't have the internet so we would need one which can send an address by text and ideally with a long battery life.

    Do they normally have monthly charges?

    Thanks, Lindsay
     
  2. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    19,033
    Male
    North Manchester
    There are many ways of doing what you want, as a first step contact the LA to see if they can offer any system.
     
  3. flowerball1

    flowerball1 Registered User

    Jan 16, 2014
    18
    Chickens

    I bought a GPS tracker for my mum last year from GiffGaff. There was an initial cost of around £200 and we were able to add money to the account for on going charges, a bit like a pay as you go phone. The device was about the size of a credit card but about 1cm thick. We were able to programme it with contact numbers for two mobile numbers. We used mine and my daughters. Once this was done we were able to text Giffgaff for an update on mum's whereabouts when required. Within a few seconds we would receive a text with a link to google maps showing where the device and hopefully mum was. At the time mum was still going to her club on the bus and it was good to know whether she had got there and whether she had got home. On one occasion she was late getting home and we found her at the wrong end of the bus route!
    It was expensive, but gave me considerable peace of mind and maintained her independence. The device needed to be charged once a week depending on the level or use it got and we received a text message to our phones to remind us to charge it up. The device also had help buttons so that mum could call for help if needed. It was also possible for us to dial the device and listen into what was happening at mums end.
    There are all kind of ethical issues with this last bit and you have to decide if you use this facility and how you manage it.
    So there are some very good, if very expensive devices out there, but I would check first whether you are entitled to assistance with the costs first. We didn't go down that route as mum is lucky to have sufficient capital to be self funding in most things.
    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Pete R

    Pete R Registered User

    Jul 26, 2014
    2,046
    Staffs
    Unfortunately someone somewhere is going to have to have access to the internet as I am not aware (doesn't mean there isn't:)) of a device that will send you an address by text. So asking the LA is probably best as they take on that role and will pass details onto you/your Mother.

    Also having a monthly recharge will mean having a larger battery than most offer. When receiving a GPS signal the units are very power hungry indeed and from the small research I have done on the ones recommended by LA's they are always on and require daily charging. There are units that hibernate till you ask for a position and this will preserve battery life but will not give an accurate position till they have warmed up which can be minutes or even longer if the unit is somewhere that has limited signal.

    Good Luck:)
     
  5. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    19,033
    Male
    North Manchester
  6. chickens

    chickens Registered User

    Jan 29, 2015
    2
    #6 chickens, Jan 30, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2015
    Thank you all! So helpful and thanks for taking the time to give advice.
    We will try the LA first as suggested and look into some of the other options like GiffGaff and Ostrich care
     
  7. chrissie121

    chrissie121 Registered User

    Nov 27, 2013
    29
    HI there

    Speak to your local authority's social services department. Most LA's have a department that offers services such as linkline - this is a buzzer one wears around the neck and if you fall the person can summon help. Most authorities are now bringing in GPS trackers, these work by the person wearing a watch or carrying a mobile with the tracker in. The tracker can alert/send a message to the carer's mobile phone advising where the person is. They are not available privately yet to get a contract. If you get them through your social services department I think they cost around £10 a month. it may be depending on your father in law's age and illness you may get a discounted rate.
     
  8. sinkhole

    sinkhole Registered User

    Jan 28, 2015
    269
    I have some experience with trackers and might be able to help.

    My aunt is in the early stages of mixed dementia. She is mobile enough to get on and off buses to go to the shops and to my mum's house (45 minutes on the bus) twice a week, but she forgets which day of the week it is and spends literally 2 hours wandering around a shop only to buy 1 or 2 items (usually not the items she went out to buy!)

    I'm sure a time will come when she forgets where she is or doesn't get off at the right bus stop, so I looked into GPS trackers last year and tested a couple of different ones.

    I should also say my business is involved with GPS tracking and I've had trackers on one of our cats for a couple of years now, so I do have a bit of practical experience in this area.

    I looked at the trackers specifically designed for the elderly or those with dementia and they didn't really fit the bill for our situation. They were either too large, had too many controls on them (which my aunt would delight in playing with/breaking) or didn't have a long enough battery life.

    We can't rely on my aunt recharging the tracker but as she visits my mum once a week, it can be charged there. So I looked for a unit which would last on a full charge for at least 7 days, was small and light enough to be put somewhere on her person without bothering her and would allow us to find her position immediately via text from a smartphone or see the route she's taken overlaid on a map through an online application.

    I settled on a unit designed for asset tracking, mainly because it had the best battery life for its size. It's the 'Queclink GL300'. It easily lasts 8+ days on a charge if configured correctly and using a Giffgaff SIM in the tracker and in a smartphone, all the SMS messaging is free so you can ping it as often as you like and it doesn't cost a penny to run. The price is around £100 + VAT for the tracker. If you want the mapping function there may be an additional monthly cost to pay, depending who you buy it from.

    Hope that helps.
     

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