AirTags have a controversial new use, tracking loved ones with dementia

Annie_M

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There are so many nightmarish stories about people with dementia getting lost, that I'm not sure using an AirTag to "track" them can be considered controversial. I personally know several people who have gotten lost. One lady left to get her hair done and ended up over 25 miles away. She realized that she was on an interstate but had no idea where. She pulled off and got her flip phone out. Luckily it was charged, and she was able to call her daughter. Her daughter called 911 and the state highway patrol was able to "ping" the cell tower and they were able to locate her. Luck was definitely on her side.

Another friend insisted that she could make it to my cousins for Thanksgiving. She got lost and was missing for over 12 hours. Luckily, she was found and got home safely. She was terrified, embarrassed, cold, and hungry. We were all terrified. After going though that, I would not hesitate to use an AirTag to track a loved one.
 

imwjl

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We have found the Apple "find" more reliable, affordable and capable than other solutions to help give care and independence for elderly and terminally ill family members.
 

EdwinG

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We have found the Apple "find" more reliable, affordable and capable than other solutions to help give care and independence for elderly and terminally ill family members.

That's exactly the problem that needs fixing.
 

Up_And_Away

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“One professor told the outlet patients "can and should be asked if it’s OK with them."”

This is a stark gray area. I completely understand the view that lucid patients need to consent. The problem is the very patients the article is about are those who are losing or lost their ability to rationally consent.
Caregiving was difficult and having the ability to know where they were would have been a positive for her and us (this was well before AirTags). It would have meant more freedom for all of us. But if asked i believe it would have been an irrational and adamant no. For anyone who has been a caregiver they may know what I speak of. I understand why some would say it is wrong, but be there in that position then demand it is wrong to have added that security and peace of mind.

And as many have said, AirTags are like many devices and things. It can be misused. We shouldn’t all have to pay for someone else’s wrongs.
 

imwjl

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That's exactly the problem that needs fixing.

You lost me there. Apple's technology was more affordable, reliable and less obtrusive. In both cases our parents were aware and wanted to do this. From a great aunt who had dementia I'm aware of someone not having awareness but before this technology existed she would leave a nursing home and ague. It makes me think asking Siri for a family member would have been a nice option if it existed.
 

EdwinG

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You lost me there. Apple's technology was more affordable, reliable and less obtrusive. In both cases our parents were aware and wanted to do this. From a great aunt who had dementia I'm aware of someone not having awareness but before this technology existed she would leave a nursing home and ague. It makes me think asking Siri for a family member would have been a nice option if it existed.

I wasn’t referring to AirTags, but to the other devices that are more specialized for these situations. AirTags have a couple of drawbacks inherent to the design (no mobile connection, no GPS, etc.) which can slow down finding a person in distress in a timely manner. That said, their much lower price and general reliability is exactly why the more specialized products need fixing.

Also, “Find My” has an option to ask Siri where a person is, provided they shared their position with you. Simply saying “Hey Siri, where is X” should find the person :)
 

imwjl

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I wasn’t referring to AirTags, but to the other devices that are more specialized for these situations. AirTags have a couple of drawbacks inherent to the design (no mobile connection, no GPS, etc.) which can slow down finding a person in distress in a timely manner. That said, their much lower price and general reliability is exactly why the more specialized products need fixing.

Also, “Find My” has an option to ask Siri where a person is, provided they shared their position with you. Simply saying “Hey Siri, where is X” should find the person :)

I would not expect AirTags to work as we have my mother's Apple Watch set up. She knows to keep cellular on all the time.
 

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