A pocket-sized speedometer that uses satellite technology is to be handed to vulnerable people in Surrey to keep them safe.
People with dementia and learning difficulties will be offered the GPS-fitted gadget to stop them getting lost after boarding a bus or train in a confused state.
When the vehicle reaches a pre-set speed limit, the device sends a text alert to loved ones’ smart phones. The message includes a link to Google maps that opens to show a marker pinpointing the person’s exact location and the speed at which they are travelling.
Although Easylink UK’s device has been used by the likes of car hire firms and lone workers at risk of attack such as health visitors, telecare experts in Surrey recognised its value in helping vulnerable people maintain their independence.
Testing of the gadget is due to start shortly and it comes hot on the heels of a GPS watch being trialled by Surrey Telecare Service, which is made up of the county council and the 11 boroughs and districts, to help keep people with dementia safe.
Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care Mel Few said: “The county council is always ready to embrace innovation and harness technology to improve people’s care and trying this device is a good example of that.
“We’re already testing a tracker watch to help keep vulnerable people safe and this pocket-sized device will give relatives reassurance that people with dementia or learning difficulties don’t end up lost because they got into a confused state and took a trip on a train or bus.”
Easylink UK’s Mike Dines said: “For a family anxious about an elderly relative or younger members of the family with special needs, the device offers significant peace of mind and gives the user a higher level of confidence, knowing that they can press a button for help and be found easily if necessary.”
The device, which weighs just 50 grams, also allows a ‘safe’ area to be set up so that if the user strays beyond its boundaries, an alert is triggered.
It contains a battery and a Sim card, which tracks the wearer and allows relatives to get an update on a person’s location by sending a text message or they can set up the device, which is also linked to a monitoring centre manned 24 hours a day, to give location reports at regular intervals.
Users can also press an emergency button, which immediately gives relatives their location via a text message, and make an emergency call to up to two people.
More information about EasylinkUK can be found on the firm’s website.