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.
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 Watch 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.