‘SatNavs’ to help Havering’s vulnerable

Satellite gadgetry – like that used in vehicle SatNavs - is being employed by Havering Council to keep residents with dementia safe and independent.

On Track is a clever wristwatch-like device which gives Geographical Positioning System (GPS) information to monitor the wearer’s location.

The signal is picked up by a carer, Havering Careline control centre, and the emergency services if necessary.

So far 40 people in the borough are benefiting - mainly those with dementia who go missing and forget where they are or how to get back.

The device has two-way communication which allows the wearer to raise the alarm and contact the control centre.

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And if the wearer walks out of range, they will receive a call asking if they are ok.

Resident Brian Davage, from Romford, took part in a trial with his wife, Jill, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s nine years ago.

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Jill had gone missing a couple of times before and this worried Brian, who is Jill’s full-time carer.

He said: “The device always knows where my wife is. It gives me peace of mind. I know that if she goes missing I can contact the centre and they will be able to find her.

“I can talk through it as well, so sometimes I take my wife out and someone from the centre will call through the watch to check we’re ok. I can tell them that we’ve gone out and when we expect to get back. It’s really easy to use.”

Cllr Steven Kelly, cabinet member for individuals, said: “I am really pleased that people are starting to use this service, it’s a great use of the technology that’s out there.

“The device is very clever and I can see this working for other people and services too.”

The equipment will not contact the emergency services automatically and is not a replacement for a 999 call.

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