Before you buy, consider the points listed below:
- If someone who you care for is able to go out alone but may get lost, it would be useful to identify local routes with familiar landmarks in a safe range from home. The person could also carry an I.C.E. (in case of emergency) card or ‘Dementia Assistance Card’ with address and contact details in case they get lost.
- If lost they could make contact with family or friends with a standard mobile phone; numbers can be stored to make dialling easier in an emergency. Some phones have an SOS button which calls a specific designated responder. There are simple mobile phones with photo buttons, braille or texture buttons to facilitate making a call to friends or family. Most mobile phones can be registered with an online tracking system so that the person can be located.
- If the person cannot use a mobile phone they could wear or carry a tracking device to enable them to be located when they are out and about.
- Tracking devices can be used for carers or family members to check the person’s whereabouts; with map locations sent to designated mobile phones or by logging in to the specific tracker website.
- Some trackers can be set up to send an alert and map reference to a friend or carer or family member when the person moves beyond a specified ‘safe’ local area. Messages may be sent from the tracking device by text, or from the monitoring service by email or text.
- Tracking devices rely on GPS and mobile phone signal to locate the person so be aware that trackers may be less effective in areas with a weak phone signal.
- Some trackers are hand held devices which the person must remember to take with them when they go out. Other trackers are like a key fob and can be attached to keys, a bag or coat to ensure the person carries them when going out. Insole trackers or clips to discreetly attach to clothing are also available.
- Most trackers have integral batteries which need charging; so users must ensure this can be achieved to ensure batteries are fully charged for use.
- After the initial purchase, most trackers operate with a ‘pay as you go’ or mobile phone contract arrangement, with carers charged local text rate every time they make contact with the tracker. Trackers that are monitored via their own company web based services, charge a subscription for monitoring the tracker as well as individual call charges after the initial purchase and set up fees.