Technology Helpful But Not Foolproof
Stigma around cognitive disorders can sometimes prevent people with dementia from discussing how they want their families to manage the disease as it progresses, said Lili Liu, a professor in the school of public health sciences at the University of Waterloo who specializes in aging and technology.
Experts advise creating a care plan that uses multiple strategies to balance autonomy and safety.
Do they want technology to be part of their care? she said. If so, they might get in the habit of carrying a device that could be capable of tracking them in the future. Consent is key. Some might say no camera, but Im OK with sensors.
In 2013, police in the United Kingdom conducted a trial to give seniors prone to wandering GPS trackers. The program cost about $700 per month, but was anticipated to save thousands more by avoiding callouts.
Better For Some Uses Than Others
Im just scratching the surface of the cases in which AirTags will be used and abused. It seems clear that Apple needs to refine some of the features in the system. The length of time before an AirTag makes noise, how quickly youre alerted to an AirTag traveling with you, and the fact that a setting can disable such alerts all need more thought.
Some of the gaps in knowing whether youre being tracked are large enough to enable abusive behavior that Apple wants to prevent. The Washington Posts Geoffrey Fowler tested being tracked with permission, and he found a number of loopholes and exceptions that clever stalkers and abusers could exploit.
On the plus side, the record keeping and association of AirTags to individuals makes it relatively easy to figure out who owns an unwanted tracker and what behavior that person has engaged in. A stalker would, at a minimum, have to create a throwaway iCloud account and use it with a disposable iPhone or iPad to track an AirTag to avoid creating an overt trackable connection. Thats a lot of money and effort, and it might still be difficult to avoid providing identifiable information unintentionally.
Happily, Apple seems to have designed the system to be open to adapting, maturing, and improving. The overwhelming majority of uses of AirTags and the Find My network will certainly be positive ones. The goal will be to block malicious uses more effectively without diminishing the value of the entire system.
Medical Alerts That Locate
If the person with dementia needs a medical alert as well as the location tracking capability, then the obvious solution is to pick one of the medical alerts that come with location tracking capability.
These come in a variety of form factors, including pendants and watches.
This category of product usually includes a GPS capability that allows the emergency responder to locate the device . Some of the devices make it possible for a “caregiver” to locate the wearer of the medical alert too. However some devices do not make this information accessible.
One word of caution. Many medical alerts allow you to locate the wearer, but do not let you set geofencing areas and trigger an alert when the wearer leaves that area. This might be problematic in some situations.
If you think this category of product is the right one for you, this general category of medical alerts is what we call the “Go anywhere” or “Mobile” medical alert. In addition, a very relevant sub-category is smartwatches that also act as medical alerts. See our current recommendations for both these categories at the links below.
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How To Track People With Apple Airtags
Apple AirTags rely on a billion+ devices globally in the companys Find My galaxy to find your lost items. And Apples built in significant protections so you theoretically can’t stalk someone by slipping an AirTag into their car or backpack.
But you still can.
Apple AirTags can be put in a keychain holder, or slipped into a bag, or dropped in a car.
At least, based on publicly available information to date.
Heres how: be an iPhone user and only target people who use Android phones.
Apples privacy protections will notify iPhone users if an AirTag is following them repeatedly. But none of the software infrastructure that enables that warning lives on Android phones. Instead, Apple has built in additional security for Android-using spouses, kids, or stalking targets by disabling AirTags that do not connect with their paired iPhone within a three-day period.
After those three days, the AirTag will announce itself by beeping.
The idea is that if youre being tracked, youll hear it and disable or get rid of the AirTag.
In addition, presumably after some time frame, Apple will remotely disconnect devices from the Find My network. Apple cant do it extremely quickly: that would defeat the findability of the AirTag. Apple needs to do it after some period of time, however, to prevent exactly this sort of digitally-enhanced stalking.
Made For Familiesbuilt By Parents
You shouldn’t have to fuss over complicated technology. That’s why Jiobit has no power button, no switches, no extra hardware, and no complicated setup.Designed and engineered in the US by world-class mobile device experts, Jiobit’s patented Progressive Beaconing technology sets it apart from other trackers.
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Locate Lost Apple Products
Every iPhone, MacBook, and iPad comes with the Find My app. Users can find their Apple devices using Bluetooth. For instance, if you lose your phone at your friends house, you can use your tablet to find it.
Knowing how to use your AirTag can give insight into its best use. You can find items by:
You must have your devices Bluetooth on to work. Your AirTag wont pair with a device that doesnt have this feature enabled.
Airtags Are Dangerous Heres How Apple Could Fix Them
Accuracy doesnt have to trump safety
When Apple launched the AirTag last spring, many marveled at how effectively the coin-shaped trackers could locate lost items. But many early reviewers also sounded an alarm: an AirTags incredible accuracy also makes it an effective stalking tool. Weve spent the past month testing these devices to see their potential risks for ourselves.
Theres no question that AirTags can be and have been abused. Sports Illustrated model Brooks Nader recently reported finding a strangers AirTag in her coat. One Connecticut man was arrested for placing an AirTag on his ex-girlfriends car a Texas man admitted to doing the same to his estranged wife last month. A New York Times reporter successfully used them to track her husbands every move .
But its also true that AirTags dont exist in a vacuum. The item tracker market is filled with competitors many of which lack the anti-abuse safeguards that AirTags have. In this investigation, we set out to identify two things: the unique risks that AirTags pose and the specific steps Apple could take to make them safer.
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Best Alternatives To Apple Airtag 2022
Apple AirTag was recently introduced during its April 2021 event. The AirTag is Apple’s version of a device tracker, which you can attach to your keys or a bag. If they ever go missing, you can track your items down via the Find My network. However, the AirTag was not the first device tracker on the market. Other trackers are available and may be better for your needs. Let’s explore the best alternatives to the Apple AirTag.
Scenario : Mild Cognitive Impairment Needs A Help Tool They Can Use For Themselves
In this situation, we think it makes a lot of sense for the person with cognitive impairment to grow accustomed to using navigation apps on a smartphone, carrying the smartphone with them at all times, and ideally growing accustomed to some type of wearable that has functionality that can expand if they need it, as cognition worsens.
A smart watch has the big advantage of providing lots of other “useful” features, and not being stigmatizing. And it makes possible the additional location capabilities that may be needed as dementia progresses.
For those who like the idea of a medical alert pendant, that is also a good option so long as you choose one that allows a caregiver to do the locating if needed, and provides suitable controls that “manage” which caregivers can do that locating. But be aware that most medical alerts do not include a geofencing “alert” capability.
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Location Trackers For Pets
If you don’t want to go through the process of microchipping your pet, there’s now a much less invasive option to keep track of it: AirTag. Apple’s Bluetooth trackers are a perfect pet companion since they’re IP67 water-resistant and small enough for a cat’s collar, and hardly noticeable on a dog’s. AirTag doesn’t come with a way to attach it to a collar, so you’ll need to buy a case with a keyring, loop, or small carabiner. Some companies, like FollowPaw, make pet collars specifically for AirTag.
Alzheimer’s Society’s View On Safer Walking Technology
Find out what we think about safer walking technology and how it relates to the needs of people affected by dementia.
Technology for safer walking has the potential to offer benefits to people with dementia and their carers in specific circumstances. But practical and ethical issues, and the concerns of people with dementia and their carers, have yet to be fully addressed.
Walking in a safe environment provides physical and psychological benefits for people with dementia. Walking usually represents a response to a need, such as boredom or discomfort.
However, some walking is associated with risk. This behaviour of walking about, also known as wandering, is a compulsion to leave home that affects 15-60% of people with dementia .
Wandering exposes people with dementia to a significant risk of getting lost. One study found that 40% of people with dementia get lost outside their home . People with dementia can be confined at home, or moved to a care home, as a result.
Interventions may be required to reduce risks associated with walking. However, these should assist safer walking rather than prevent wandering, in order to balance minimising risk with maintaining personal freedom and the benefits of walking .
Devices that have been developed to help people live more independent lives, known as assistive technology, can help with safer walking.
Two types of technology may be used:
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What Does Apple Need To Do
AirTags, like many categories of personal technology, have costs and benefits. Key loss is easy to dismiss as a funny inconvenience, but it has led to documented cases of drastic, dangerous, and evenfatal behavior. But AirTags also, as weve illustrated here, can be incredibly harmful.
A few of the experts we spoke to feel that any possible risk of abuse is unacceptable: AirTags shouldnt exist. I dont know that theres an acceptable level of risk for technology like this, said Mary Beth Becker, domestic violence community educator at Womens Advocates. Were talking about peoples actual lives.
But based on our findings here, we think its too early to make that kind of assessment. While our testing, research, and expert input gave us quite a few anecdotes and important insight into possible use cases for AirTags, their systemic impact is currently not clear on either side.
The problem that AirTags pose is fairly straightforward
Its easy to see how a device that prevents key loss could be a non-trivial benefit to seniors. GPS technology, in general, is used in disabled communities. But we werent able to find evidence that this is currently a widespread use case for AirTags in particular. We reached out to a number of organizations focused on Alzheimers and elder advocacy, who mostly werent aware of broad adaptation among their constituents yet. AARP conducted a survey for us, and many of its respondents dont use item trackers of any kind.
Keep In Touch With Seniors With Dementia
Sometimes, seniors with dementia or Alzheimers disease get confused and elope, meaning they leave their homes. In seconds, a trip to the store can turn into an afternoon of confusion, fear, and uncertainty.
You can attach an AirTag using a CareTag necklace. With this accessory, your loved one carries an AirTag around their neck, so you can easily find them.
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Airtag Or Not Airtag That Is The Question
Although the Apple Airtag will undoubtedly be another hit for Apple, other trackers are available right now. The Tile Pro is my pick for the best alternative to the Apple AirTag. With a 400-foot Bluetooth range and water resistance, along with a user-replaceable battery, the Tile Pro is a great tracker, and also our staff pick. The only downside is certain features need a subscription to Tile Premium, such as smart alerts.
Chipolo ONE is also a great choice if you are looking for something other than an AirTag. It has all of the standard features, such as Bluetooth tracking and water resistance. Plus, it’s available in six colors and has a two-year replaceable battery. Keep an eye out for Chipolo ONE Spot, which will feature everything great about the Chipolo ONE, as well as using Apple’s Find My network.
Best Uses For An Airtag
Your AirTag is full of possibilities. If you misplace something with an AirTag attached, you can find it in seconds using the Find My app. The best uses for an AirTag really depend on whats important to you. You can slide it into your wallet, affix it to your dogs collar, or attach it to your keys. Theres also a host of accessories that can enhance your user experience.
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Location Devices And Trackers For Dementia
Location Devices and Trackers can play an important role in dementia care and management. They can also be useful for people with mild cognitive impairment, who can become confused or disoriented.
This article is for people thinking about how to help a parent, spouse, or friend with mild cognitive impairment or early or mid-stage dementia. It’s also for anyone worried they might in the future become a person with dementia, and wondering what technology to adopt that can help them compensate for the negative effects of dementia for as long as possible.
Here is the hope:
- If used appropriately, location devices and dementia trackers have the potential to prolong the time during which a person with cognitive impairment can maintain autonomy and independence.
- They may also alleviate some of the stress and worry on the part of caregivers of those with dementia.
But, as with much of our research, you need to pick the right type of product for any specific life situation and there is no such thing as the “best” location device for all circumstances. This article aims to help with that.
Bonus Use: Flex Your Wealth
This isn’t a practical use by any means, but it’s certainly something you can do with an AirTag: show off how much money you have to blow. If you’re a real baller, don’t get the standard $35 leather keychain holder like a pleb. Instead, drop the cash and get a status symbol from Hermés that serves the same purpose but costs ten times more!
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Autonomy Control Safety And Privacy
Like many “caregiving products”, these location devices and trackers raise important issues of privacy, control, and autonomy.
One of the things that come up again and again in conversations among groups of older adults is the desire to maintain autonomy as long as is realistic.
Of course, declining cognition impacts the ability to stay independent in many ways. And at some point, as dementia progesses, autonomy probably has to become limited to keep the person healthy and safe.
There are also often tradeoffs to be made between autonomy and privacy, and between safety and privacy.
For example, if someone knows where you are at all times, that may well enhance your safety. But it definitely impinges on your privacy.
And, if the alternatives are “don’t leave the house”, or “go where you want, but surrender some privacy so we can help if something goes wrong”, that is a tradeoff between autonomy and privacy many would choose to make.
Gps Trackers For Dementia
There is an entire category of product, called GPS trackers, that are designed to locate things.
They include some type of “tag” that can be worn as a pendant, attached to clothing, attached to the collar of a pet, or attached to a vehicle or boat.
The tag uses GPS to locate itself, and the cellular network to communicate back to some type of app or receiver and share its location.
Several of these are on the market, focused on helping to “locate your kid”. Others are designed to “locate your pet”. These can also be used to “locate a person with dementia”.
Here are some examples:
The big question for this category of products is whether the specific dementia patient in question will carry this device on them at all times.
This will vary from person to person. Some people try hiding it in a purse, or attaching it to clothing.
We have not done hands-on testing of these GPS personal trackers, but from what we see online, we would give the Jiobit a try. It gets good reviews on Amazon, the company is based in the USA, and they appear to have given considerable thought to security, which we think is important.The Jiobit claims a battery life of “up to a week”, which is good for this type of product.
If you try it out, please come back and add a comment and tell us how it went.
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