people with dementia and assistive technology
This week we saw this article in the news press and it caused so much uproar that its unbelievable, as many comments are from elderly and some like myself who have dementia.
Sussex Police have bought 15 GPS tags which they hope will save them money searching for pensioners who wander off or go missing.
Chief Inspector Tanya Jones told the Daily Telegraph: "The GPS will be very cost-effective to the police. It will reduce anxiety for the family and really reduce the police time spent on this issue."
But Dot Gibson, general secretary of the National Pensioners Convention accused the police of "trying to get care on the cheap".
"I think they should withdraw it straight away," she said. "Trying to equate somebody who has committed a criminal act with somebody who is suffering dementia is completely wrong.
"I doubt whether anyone in the Cabinet would want their parents dealt with in this way if they were suffering from dementia.
"It looks at the problem in the wrong way. If you've got people in the community who are so bad that they are wandering off at night and are not safe, they should be properly cared for, they shouldn't be tagged.
"It's a crude form of monitoring when the issue needs a much more detailed response than this. This is a back-of-an-envelope response."
There are currently 800,000 people with dementia in the UK. A number of local authorities are already using similar devices to track sufferers, but this is believed to be the first time a police force has taken on such a scheme.
Chief Inspector Tanya Jones, the district commander for Chichester, rejected criticism that the devices could lead to dementia sufferers being viewed as criminals.
"This isn't a tagging device that people use when they are released from prison. It's used with the consent of the family and the individuals concerned," she said.
"It's almost been blown out of proportion that we are trying to tag the 800,000 dementia sufferers in the country. We will only be using these in specific cases.
"It's about finding people quickly before something happens to them, and secondly it's about value for money for the police but that's secondary."
I have always had problems when it comes top assistive technology, because its something which helps everyone in life so why should it be so bad for people who have this illness to use.
I have been told on many occasions that the use of assistive technology is against our civil liberties, but as far as I am concerned I lost those when I was diagnosed with this horrible illness "dementia" and unless you have the illness you have no real idea wheat life with dementia is like. Assistive technology is a God send in all forms as it allows us to carry on with our own way of life, without other people following us around to see what we are doing and where we are going.
Everyone in society uses assistive technology from, Hearing aids and glasses, to things like mobile phones, computers etc, and so the list goes on. Yet how many know that they are tracked or can be tracked using a mobile phone? is that wrong?
I think there are far too many do goodies in society today, who object without thinking about what they have read and thought about it clearly.
Did they ask someone with the illness for their views, I guess not as they think we are unable to answer for ourselves a lot of the time, and this annoys me.
Like many who have the illness we want to live our lives without causing unnecessary upset or distress, and that could also come into play when it comes to us getting lost, something which can happen at any time. I trialled the Buddy system for our county council and thought it was brilliant as it gave me that extra bit of confidence, and if needed my wife could have looked on the computer at home to see where I was, but is that so wrong.
If it saves vast sums of money looking for someone then lets just get on with it, as long as it is explained at the early stages of the illness, so we know what it does, and its no something that looks like a gadget used by those just out of prison.
But these days these gadgets for use with dementia patients are very user friendly, and cannot be seen by others, and bear no resemblance to other tracking devices used by the law courts.
I enjoy walking every day when I can, and enjoy the freedom which comes with it, so please think carefully before you start to say something is wrong for us.
Like many others, my wife gets worried if I am out a long time and she is unsure about where I am, but I always have a mobile phone with me. However I would never object to using a tracking device, because I know that if anything goes wrong it will save a lot of time and possibly money finding me fast and before its too late.
I also recognise that other peoples time, is just as important to them as my own freedom is important to me, so its a case of respect all round.