My sister, whose husband is suffering from vascular dementia, asked me the other day for my opinion on GPS tracking as she was wondering if it might be a good idea.
Although her husband is also sight impaired, he's still managing a daily walk on his own to local shops, and she wants him to have that little bit of independence for as long as he can, but is terrified every time he seems to take a little longer to return than she thinks is reasonable.
I don't have the most balanced view on this as I strongly believe it's a good idea, and I've told my family to fit one to me if I start to lose cognition, and I'd even be happy to be microchipped.
But I do know there are less radical views about it.
I've heard people say that it's a loss of dignity and personal freedom and of course it is for the average person, but in the case of dementia I'd give that the blame, not the tracker. I do know it's possible that it could be used for nefarious purposes, as in pinning down the location of someone who is away from their home in order to target it for some reason, by strangers or unscrupulous family members, but still, on balance, I'd far rather know that a tracker could locate me in the event of my going missing.
My police officer daughter tells me it's a really common thing for dementia sufferers to go missing and that it mostly doesn't hit the news unless some unfortunate person has got hopelessly lost and has died of exhaustion and exposure. And I did watch a very interesting documentary about a lady who'd gone missing, only to eventually be found deceased. It was very distressing and sad.
I think it would take a lot to change my strong view on this, but what do other members of our community think? Has anyone else any experience of using a tracker, or of a loved one wandering off and causing worry? I'd really like to give my sister a view that's perhaps based on experience or on a variety of opinions.