Sunday 17 December 2017

Chinese pensioners tracked by GPS

Malcolm Moore

Forgetful grandparents in Shanghai are being tracked by satellite to help their children keep an eye on them.

A pilot scheme in China's most advanced city will give GPS devices to 35 families to track their elderly relatives.

If the seniors move a certain distance away from their home, a text message with their exact position is sent to their families.

The device can also inform relatives if its wearer has been motionless for longer than ten hours.

"Protecting elderly people, especially those with mental health problems, by keeping them from wandering off, is a major challenge. We often get reports that old people are lost, or that they have wandered off," said Gong Linglin, the deputy head of the office in charge of ageing-related issues, who said the scheme particularly targeted people suffering from Alzheimer's disease and memory loss.

If the pilot is successful, the scheme will be rolled out across the city, with each device costing roughly €90 to €115.

Shanghai has 3.2 million residents aged 60 or above and by 2020 one-third of its population will be over 60.

"It's quite useful, especially for children who have jobs. You cannot be expected to keep an eye on your aged parents every minute, and you have to keep telling them not to go too far," said one 38-year-old woman, named only as Mrs Zhang, to the China Daily newspaper.

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