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Pokemon Go and why GPS is so important

We’re sure you have heard of the latest gaming craze of people hunting down Pokemon using the app Pokemon Go. It’s only been released a few days but it is so popular that it’s now competing with Twitter and Snapchat in terms of daily active users. Shares in the Japanese company Nintendo have seen a sharp rise since the game’s release, gaining more than 50%.

In simple terms, Pokemon Go is a game that uses your phone’s GPS (Global Positioning System) and clock to work out where and when you are in the game and make Pokemon “appear” around you (on your phone screen) so you can catch them. As you move around, different and more types of Pokemon will appear depending on where you are and what time it is. For example, if you go out to a park, you’ll probably see more grass- or bug-type Pokemon. If you go near a lake or the sea, you’ll be able to pick up more water types. And if you go out at night, you’ll see more fairy and ghost types.

The game has been applauded for improving people’s mental and physical health, encouraging them to go outside and meet with people in the real world.

Alongside Geocaching it has taken the use of GPS in gaming to the next level. But GPS as a way of supporting vulnerable adults has been around for several years. It provides a means of locating a person out and about immediately and is perfect for someone with dementia, learning disabilities or a mental health condition. The range of devices varies from a watch like mini phone to passive devices with no buttons

These GPS trackers as well as providing fun for games like Pokemon Go are saving lives. A man with Alzheimers went missing on Christmas Day during a family coastal walk. Unable to locate him, his worried wife Rosemary used the new gadget to track him down and get him to safety.

Welbeing has provided many GPS trackers for customers across the UK, here is a recent case study:

Mrs A lived with her son B when Mrs A was diagnosed with dementia. Mrs A has a younger sister C who lives nearby. C tries to support her on a daily basis but also has her own full time career and young family to care. Mrs A’s housing officer suggested that she move into a supported housing scheme. The apartment had a complete telecare package on site and this ensured that she had all the necessary equipment to keep her safe at home with on site staff for support but there were still concerns that it was really important for Mrs A to be able to go out for walks during the day as she really enjoyed them.

A GPS monitoring system that could track Mrs A anytime of the day or night would enable her to live independently and still take a daily walk but enable her family to monitor her movements remotely and give them the ability to contact her when she was away from the home. They had tried this previously with a mobile phone but found that Mrs A rarely took her phone with her. The unit also enabled the family to track her location if she did not return home on time and gave them the ability to call her they could reassure her if she became distressed.

Mrs A, B and C are now all happily living and working with the peace of mind that Mrs A is able to live independently and has not had to give up the aspect of her life that she most enjoyed. This also allowed her to remain part of the locally community and to still go shopping for herself.

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