Home » Care » Ankle Bracelets & Key Trackers

Ankle Bracelets & Key Trackers

After nan’s trips out in the car she decided she is invincible and perfectly capable of being independent. This is not something I have a problem with initially, but seeing her wobble up the steps to hang the washing outside makes me nervous. Especially as I know no matter how many times she tells me she wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t here, she will. It’s a topic we still argue about, she still thinks I want to keep her prisoner, I still think she’s being ungrateful. But it’s a topic we are learning to avoid, and I bite my tongue so often now I’m getting ulcers. Moving on.

Today’s post is a dilemma I have been pondering for a while, and I noticed has cropped up again in the news. This is directed at those in the later stages of dementia who have started wandering. Thankfully nan hasn’t got to this stage yet, it is not one I look forward to, and I am grateful she struggles to work the Yale on the door as I believe it may prolong any escape attempts.

There are proposals, and in some cases have been implemented, to somehow put trackers on dementia patients, which will ease families concerns and help them find their wandering loved ones.

A great idea in theory. However I have a few concerns about the implementation. One lady has put a tracker on her mum’s keys, which is working well. All the time that her mum remembers to take her keys with her. If someone is suffering from dementia to the point they have started wandering I can’t help feeling that their memory for taking keys when they leave the house might be slightly hindered.

In America I saw it suggested that dementia patients were given ASBO style bracelets. Slightly better idea in theory than the keys. But the ethics of this concerns me. If a dementia patient agrees to have the bracelet put on in the first place, who’s to say they will remember this the next day? I have briefly covered the anxiety felt by dementia patients and feel that an electronic tag attached to their ankles will do nothing to ease the paranoia that they are being watched. And could do a lot more harm than good to their mental and physical well being.

I believe the best way forward would be a Lifeline style bracelet or necklace, or to build in a navigation system to those already being worn. Again it would mean giving it to the patient while they are still cognitively aware of what it is, how it will benefit them and how it works. Which means striking early to avoid anxiety and paranoia. But it would be more ethical than the irremoveable ankle tag, and is more likely to become a part of day to day habit, and so less forgettable than keys.

Thankyou once again for reading and sharing, I cannot believe how far this has spread already. Let me know if you have come across any ideas about “tagging” or anything you may have used to help find wanderers.

16/05/2013 – UPDATE

I had an email recently with regards to a fairly new company trialling a product with some councils around the country. I am hoping to get a demonstration of this product (which I am really excited about). For those of you interested in seeing what I’m talking about have a look at the Carers Watchย  http://2find-me.co.uk/downloads/brochure.pdf. I will bring more updates when I have them, but this is looking the best option by far, as an ethical tracking device.


14 thoughts on “Ankle Bracelets & Key Trackers

  1. Hi – read your article with interest – picked it up via telegraph comment. Would be interested to see if you would like to share your blog on the talkhealth – talkdementia platform as well?

  2. In America, we use Lifeline for falls or emergencies. You must be close to the main box in the house. I am a RN, home care. If they wander we use locks on top of door. I’m a mandated reporter, so if they are wander, we have to report them to adult protection. My Mom was Alz also. I’ve only recently started blogging.

    • Thankyou for informing me, I just remembered seeing an article about an American proposing the ASBO anklets! I’m glad this is not actually implemented/ Sorry about your mum. And welcome to blogging! I hope you get as much support as I do ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Hi Kirsty,
    A thoughtful blog! I think that you have hit the nail on the head though. I’ve learnt that it’s so important to get things in place before they are needed, rather than when. The trouble is, who knows when they still have their cognitive abilities what life is going to be like. When I used to try and install things at my parents home for my dad, my mother used to get very upset (I didn’t realise she had early dementia then), although now she says that all those things (like the stairlift, the grabrails, etc) make her life easier!

  4. Reblogged this on Exploring Dementia and commented:
    I’d like to share a post from a blog I’ve recently started to follow. I find that I learn a lot from listening to persons with dementia, and their family and friends. If you enjoy this, please consider visiting the site it came from.

  5. My Mom (who doesn’t have dementia) has the Lifeline. It seems to work almost too well as she’s constantly setting it off and she gets a bit frightened by the “disembodied” voice of the Lifeline rep that asks if she’s fallen. At least we know it’s working!

    I bought a GPS device for my dad who had Alzheimer’s and was wandering. Where to place it is an issue because dementia patients are good at losing things and many “fiddle” with their clothes. Unfortunately, my dad became sick and had to go into the hospital so the device was never used.

    • The Lifeline really is a great device, but agree with you about the startling disembodied voice! Lovely to hear about your experience, sorry to hear about your dad. If you don’t mind me asking how did you find the hospital staff dealt with Alzheimers?

      • I found that most of the hospital staff did not seem to have a lot of experience dealing with Alzheimer’s patients. I learned how important it is to be an advocate for a loved one with dementia when they are hospitalized.

      • Hmmm, this is a concern of mine now I am more aware of nan’s dementia and the lack of awareness/experience with some hospitals and staff. I do not want to belittle nan, or treat her like a child should she (God forbid) end up back in hospital. But I know she won’t be able to tell the staff the truth, and I’m unsure if they would take me or her seriously x

  6. Pingback: Carers Watch | Living with Dementia

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