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4129 posts

Uber Geek


# 201923 10-Sep-2016 06:56
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Hi there


My mother was widowed last month; combine living alone with an increasingly poor memory, she's starting to regularly misplace critical items like keys, wallet and phone. And yesterday she got herself lost when walking to our house, which left us somewhat concerned.


Anyway, as a partial solution, I thought that I could attach some bluetooth tags to things like her keys, which even if she couldn't use an app to find, we could assist her to do so. 


I see there are heaps of these now for sale on eBay, but don't know whether the cheap-as ones will be adequate for this task - and whether the battery will last long enough and/or is replaceable (or is cheap enough just to replace). I also need a few, so wouldn't be keen on paying Tile prices.


I was wondering about ones like this.


Can anyone offer advice on these, including recommended options?


Also, I was wondering about what the best options are to literally find my mother should she get lost again? Would it be just to track one of these bluetooth tags (assuming she has at least one of those items on her), or use a 'find my phone' app? If the latter, does she need to have an actual active data plan on her phone? (she's currently only got minutes and texts).


Many thanks for any advice!

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8873 posts

Uber Geek

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  # 1626834 10-Sep-2016 07:09
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4129 posts

Uber Geek


  # 1626837 10-Sep-2016 07:20
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Thanks, but as I mentioned above I was hoping for something more affordable than Tiles (I'm sure also their batteries aren't replaceable?).


5573 posts

Uber Geek

  # 1626843 10-Sep-2016 08:09
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Also, I was wondering about what the best options are to literally find my mother should she get lost again? Would it be just to track one of these bluetooth tags (assuming she has at least one of those items on her), or use a 'find my phone' app? If the latter, does she need to have an actual active data plan on her phone? (she's currently only got minutes and texts).



Most of the find my phone type services will require a data connection. The exception is the vehicle type trackers that can be controlled by SMS - you text it, it replies with the location sort of thing. In Auckland, Wandatrak is available.


EDIT: Not sure how you'd get her to carry a vehicle tracker!

961 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 1626859 10-Sep-2016 09:01
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Trying to think outside the box, can you still get those whistle key rings? You whistle and they beep at you...

Data plans on phones are quite cheap, have a look at Skinny, they start at $9 a month but the $16 plan is great value. Does require that she charge and carry the phone though.

What about fitness trackers? I don't know if they do realtime tracking or not, probably need the phone!

Procrastination eventually pays off.

2566 posts

Uber Geek

  # 1626879 10-Sep-2016 09:56
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In the same vein, perhaps one of the cat tracker tags could be customised to make a reasonable MedicAlert style bracelet one, as she might not always have one of those other items on?

*Edit this is actually a thing!

BDFL - Memuneh
64661 posts

Uber Geek

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  # 1626886 10-Sep-2016 10:27
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Car trackers generally need a power source - the ones I've seen are plugged into the OBD port for power. So not too portable.


Tile is really good, despite price. Battery lasts a year and you get a discounted price for replacement tiles. They even have a new very thin one for wallets.


I wouldn't trust the very cheap ones from anywhere - even less Chinese ones from eBay. You have o idea if they support the app, if the app will disappear one day, if the app is not infected with malware, if they aren't sucking data from your phone to some server in China, or whatever. Just no.


Also Tile works in a network of users. The more users, the easier to point where a device is because the chances of people walking past it increases. If you use Tile in a low density population area then your only chance is really direct connection which means being around ten meters of the tracked device.


By comparison, we don't really kow how the cheap alternative works. If it's direct connection then you are limited to 10m. If it's a network like tile then you might not even have enough users around a large city to be actually effective.


If you want somethin that works for devices, Tile.

22519 posts

Uber Geek


  # 1626899 10-Sep-2016 10:55
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I have bought a couple of the cheap types.


They dont have an on and tracking mode, you turn them off and on with the button, and when off, nothing happens bluetooth at all.


When on, they will pair to a phone - only 1 phone, and show in the app, when they leave range the phone will beep and if the option is turned on the tag will beep too.


If on and not paired to a phone, they can be paired by anyone with the app without password or anything, and the thing is taking about 2mA so the battery would only last a couple of days in that state - it is also flashing its pairing LED.



82 posts

Master Geek

  # 1626948 10-Sep-2016 11:29

I am fairly certain that NZ Police issue tracking devices for poor folk with dementia. Search and Rescue seem to be the appropriate part of the organisation, and will issue the tracking device for those who wander. It sounds as if you need some professional help and assessment, in view of an apparently deteriorating medical condition.



4129 posts

Uber Geek


  # 1626953 10-Sep-2016 11:44
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Thanks for all the feedback - some really useful stuff.


Ok, you've convinced me of the importance of not going cheap-@rse on a bluetooth tracker! I'll see if I can convince her to go with a slim Tile for her wallet, and the standard for her handbag and keys, for a start; a pity they don't do mixed packs of four. $122 for these three on Amazon (versus $138 from Tile's own site), but perhaps can get an ok work discount from NL's who sell them here.


Re phone: have heeded advice re needing data, and currently just added a 100MB pack to her 2degrees connection; I'll probably switch her over to Skinny once her current credit runs out, as the $9 plan should be fine for her (or the $16 one if she needs more minutes). Have ensured I can now see the phone via her Google device page, so we should be sweet for that now.


And, yep, totally aware of this being the start of something more significant, and have already been talking to her doctor and the older people team connected to the doctors. I see this tech stuff as just an easy and quick win in helping with some of the immediate problems. Now we just have to convince her to 1. have her phone with her at all times and 2. to have it on!


Thanks once again for the advice.

4129 posts

Uber Geek


  # 1626969 10-Sep-2016 12:43
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So popped into NL, and nothing off Tiles. A few dollars off at Harvey Norman, but they also stock an equivalent brand called Chipolo. Retail at $60 but they'll sell them at $43 each. Big advantage is replaceable battery, even if shorter lifespan of six months. Also has the community network feature of Tiles, but I guess this won't be as large therefore as effective.
Has anyone had experience with this brand?

Edit: maybe not!,review-2657-8.html


2326 posts

Uber Geek


  # 1639489 23-Sep-2016 15:44
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If leaving things outside if the house is a potential problem, Tiles are the way to go with the network of users. I think I saw them at JB HiFi too.

If wandering in person is a problem, definitely the Wandatrack system is your best bet. It's run through your local search and rescue using radion frequencies. Batteries last 6 months from memory and a special antenna is used to locate them, but you just wear it like a pendant with no need to worry about baterries, charging etc. Went through this a while ago for my grandad and its not an easy thing to deal with.

4129 posts

Uber Geek


  # 1639550 23-Sep-2016 17:17
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As it happens, a four pack of Tiles from Amazon arrived today; will set about putting them to use in the weekend. In the end it was worth paying more for a better product with a bigger network of users...

Also, my mother got lost on the same route to my house on Wednesday. This is despite having her phone and iPad with her; she didn't call me and didn't answer the the phone when I called her, but i was able to track her via Android device manager. I imagine if this starts to happen more frequently we will indeed need to look at the formal tracking option you mention!

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