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2229 posts

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#189484 1-Jan-2016 09:50
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Please does anyone have any experiences or recommendation for a personal GPS tracking solution?

My father-in-law has dementia which is slowly getting worse and he is starting to have a tendency to wander and not remember where he lives. I'm looking for some sort of way that the mother-in-law can keep track of where he is. There seems to be quite a range of options out there with widely varying prices and technical complexity but nothing jumps out that immediately ticks all the boxes.

My Wishlist/thoughts:
- must be available and work in New Zealand
- the portable device to fit on a keyring or in a wallet
- simple to use - they have little aptitude or desire for learning technology
- they don't have an internet connection or PC at home (although I won't rule out their having to get a smart-phone with a data plan)
      *alternatively is there a 3rd party monitoring service that MIL could phone to locate FIL when he's gone walkabout
      *us kids could act as this 3rd party but this is less desirable as we all work full-time and may not be available when the need arises.
- zero or minimal monthly subscription charges (their only income is the government pension)

Yes, we do intend to get in contact with the dementia support organisations to see what they have to offer and say, but I'm keen to hear what works for others here.




"I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road." -  Stephen Hawking


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  #1459748 1-Jan-2016 10:25
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I am not aware of anything off-the-shelf that fits your requirements, but with the availability of cheap Android smart phones with built in GPS and data capabilities it seems like a pretty good choice IMO. You can buy a basic smart phone for $100 ish and load it up on a very cheap data plan. All they would need to do is charge it every night (could be problematic if they forget of course) and then load up one of the many location tracking apps available.

The obvious downside is if they let the phone go flat it is useless.

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  #1459754 1-Jan-2016 10:43
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Side related, my Mum wore a St Johns alert alarm around her neck, she kept losing it. Wasn't able to find it as she forgot what it was or that she lost it. So, with that in mind, it might be a real issue in keeping the device on their person. And requiring charging and loading apps I would see as a a no go for a dementia affected person. A suggestion might be a watch based one, if she wears a watch? Dementia affects short term memory, she will remember long term things a lot longer, as in being a watch wearer. Basic smartwatch with long battery life (which rellies can check upon visiting?) I don't know anything about smartwatches, just putting it out there.

 
 
 
 


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  #1459755 1-Jan-2016 10:46
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  #1459757 1-Jan-2016 10:54
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kenkeniff: http://blitrack.co.nz


That looks to be a pretty good option. Only needs a weekly charge, $9/month subscription is pretty good since it includes data charges etc. And nice and small/discrete, easy to attach to a belt or handbag etc.

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  #1459767 1-Jan-2016 11:18
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Have a look at http://wandersearch.org.nz/ or search wanda track.



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  #1460047 2-Jan-2016 07:50
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Thanks for the thoughts, ideas and links people.

The more I think about it and talk about it with other family members, the solution starts to look like this:

 

  • FIL wears or carries a device that periodically sends location data  (coordinates I'd guess)
  • Data is sent to a 3rd party monitoring service, and mostly ignored
  • When FIL goes missing, his wife phones the monitoring service.  They then check the latest data received and tell MIL the location in a user-friendly way (i.e. street name and approximate number)
I would expect to pay a regular subscription for the device connectivity (M2M SIM) and for the ongoing monitoring service, and a 'per event' charge every time MIL needs to call them.

The technology part is pretty straight forward, but I wonder if a monitoring service like this exists.
Time to get back on the google...and weed out the crud.





"I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road." -  Stephen Hawking


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  #1460050 2-Jan-2016 08:19
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Xile: Have a look at http://wandersearch.org.nz/ or search wanda track.


This. WandaTrak is designed for exactly this purpose. Remember with a re purposed phone or similar GPS equipment batteries need charging very regularly, which could be very difficult for a dementia patient. Not sure if they cover nationwide, so would pay to check if they cover the location your FIL lives.

 
 
 
 




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  #1460216 2-Jan-2016 15:31
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RunningMan:
Xile: Have a look at http://wandersearch.org.nz/ or search wanda track.


This. WandaTrak is designed for exactly this purpose. Remember with a re purposed phone or similar GPS equipment batteries need charging very regularly, which could be very difficult for a dementia patient. Not sure if they cover nationwide, so would pay to check if they cover the location your FIL lives.


Tahnks, Wandatrack does look good.  Not sure if they cover Wellington though, which is where we need it.  I'll give them a shout next week.




"I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road." -  Stephen Hawking


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