Feeds

Tag dementia sufferers, says minister

'Freedom to roam'

Security for virtualized datacentres

Elderly people suffering from dementia could be electronically tagged.

Science minister Malcolm Wicks suggested that such tagging technology, which is already used to track convicted criminals on early release from prison, could also help a family caring for an elderly relative.

He told the BBC: "This is about dignity and independence in old age," and said that far from making someone a prisoner in their own home, such a device could give a dementia sufferer the "freedom to roam around their communities".

Wicks said that permission from the individual concerned should be sought before using such a device.

Kate Jopling of Help the Aged told the BBC: "Although when we first hear this it smacks of 'Big Brother', we shouldn't dismiss the possibility of some new technologies to help us in providing better care for people with dementia".

Tagging was introduced by the UK Home Office in 1999 as part of its home detention curfew scheme, which came about in an attempt to help reduce prison overcrowding.

Such a surveillance device, which is attached to a person's ankle, uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. The tag communicates with a base station that is hooked up to a telephone line. If the person wanders out of range it sets off an alert.

But other technology options could also be considered, including GPS tracking.

"Let's use satellites and satellite technology to tackle some real important social issues that worry many families," said Wicks.

Symptoms of dementia, for which there is no cure, can often include memory loss and confusion, making the sufferer more vulnerable to wandering off.

According to the Alzheimer's Society, there are currently 700,000 sufferers of dementia in the UK of which the majority are elderly people. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes
'I certainly never expected to become rich ... this is surreal'
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.