Case Studies and Testimonials
Every single day our locally-based, caring mCareWatch team speaks to our customers, answering queries, guiding them through our products and services and, sometimes, helping them in times of stress and emergency.
That gives us real insights into the challenges our customers face, and the kinds of services and solutions they need. These case studies and testimonials tell their stories.
Case Study 1
No more walking on the wild side
Even at 72, when Kerry’s mum Jacqueline walks, she sets a cracking pace. And she loves walking. This is has stood her general health in great stead, but it’s also become a bit problematic since she was diagnosed with dementia about five years ago.
“Mum would take herself off for a walk then get confused and turned around. A few times we even had the police out looking for her. When they’d find her, she wouldn’t realise exactly how lost she was or where the time had gone,” recalls Kerry.
A much loved member of her local community and with a social spirit undiminished by her illness, when Jacqueline went wandering her family was alerted by her neighbours and friends. She was always brought safely home.
However both Kerry and her dad, Bill, Jacqueline’s main carer, feared it was only a matter of time before she slipped away unnoticed and the outcome would not be so good.
The search for a way to keep track of Jacqueline and ensure she could communicate with her family anytime and anywhere was on.
“I thought, there must be something like a “Find my phone” style solution or a GPS tracker that we could somehow adapt to help keep Mum safe. I went searching online and through the Alzheimer’s Association. That’s when I found the mCareWatch and realised there’d be no need to adapt anything because someone had already done it.”
The watch immediately became Jacqueline’s must-have accessory and she’s been wearing it ever since.
Since the initial diagnosis, Bill, Jacqueline and Kerry have worked with carers to create a weekly routine that gives Jacqueline the safety and stimulation she needs, especially as her symptoms have become more pronounced. It includes a blend of carer visits and day care to enable Bill – who is in his eighties – to continue his golfing and other hobbies, and leave Kerry able to go to work with confidence and take care of her own household as well as spending time with her mum.
“These days she’s not left alone at all, she cannot be by herself, but she still wears the watch,” says Kerry.
“One thing I do wish is that we’d found the mCareWatch earlier in the piece because I think it would have helped her keep her independence for longer when she was more well.”
Even with changing health and circumstances, the watch remains a strong support.
“It means we can see where Mum is all the time, so if I am at work I am reassured that she’s where she should be. When she goes out on outings with the day care program I often give a quick call to make sure she’s having a good time. It’s also a lot easier to ring and talk to her on the watch than another phone because when I try on the home phone she never remembers to hang up. The mCareWatch automatically does that.”
In fact only recently Kerry used the GPS tracker watch to find her mum when they were out shopping and Jacqueline surged off to a different section of the department store.
“Rather than panicking or worrying I just rang her on the watch and asked her what she was looking at. That told me what department she was in and I found her straight away. Even now when she’s more unwell it gives her that little bit of independence. If we didn’t have that even going out shopping would be quite stressful for both of us. It means I don’t have to worry that I am going to lose her.”
Kerry’s caring tip: take it day by day and make sure every day you learn something to make it better for next time.
Being flexible and open enough to adapt to new situations rather than sticking to past habits is very helpful. Don’t rock the boat unless you have to, focus on what causes distress and find ways to avoid or get around those situations, whether it’s having an afternoon nap to bypass “sundowner” syndrome, turning off the grisly and disturbing nightly news or steering clear of crowded, noisy places. If night time wandering is a problem, try playing a talking book for soothing distraction.
Case Study 2
Road rules … safety first
Guido has always loved a drive. The freedom his car has given him, especially since living alone after the death of his wife, has been a vital part of his life. Retaining his driver’s license by passing regular tests as he’s aged into his eighties, has been a must for him and a need his family understood and supported.
Unfortunately, a few years ago Guido began getting lost while driving. His confusion and disorientation saw several “emergency situations”, with Guido, who is now 85, lost and distressed and his family unable to locate him.
Both the all-important independence Guido’s driving gave him – and the support of his family – was thrown into question.
Anthony, Guido’s son-in-law and the self-confessed “techno geek” of the family, was the natural choice to find assistive technology to keep track of his elderly father-in-law. As he explains, both Guido and his family needed the safety and peace of mind of more advanced personal GPS tracking and communication. A straight mobile phone was not the answer because Guido would not remember to carry it with him.
The initial solution was to put a GPS tracker into Guido’s car – but this did not entirely solve the problem as it provided no automatic notifications. The family had to realise there was a problem before knowing when or if Guido had left home, so they could be on alert for his return. Nor did this device give Guido the option of making emergency contact with his family, and vice versa.
“I began looking online for a “GPS tracker watch” technology and could only find devices for tracking your own fitness – nothing that addressed our concerns. The mCareWatch was referred by a sergeant at the NSW Police Force who had spent a lot of time working in crime prevention and the elderly.
The technology they offer was very appealing because it fills so many gaps, offering a lot of features in one,” explained Anthony.
Guido’s family has opted to set his GPS tracker watch up so it alerts them when he leaves a certain area (known as geo-fencing). They can track his location via their Smartphones when they’re worried about him. Also, because the GPS tracker watch is a mobile phone and personal emergency alarm, they can all contact Guido at will and, by pressing the red SOS button on the watch, Guido can automatically contact the family. Guido does not have to remember anyone’s phone number – just press the red SOS button.
As well as sending low battery and geo-fencing notifications to family and carers, the GPS tracker watch can receive medication and appointment reminders that both Guido and his carers – who come in most mornings to help him with his daily routine – find useful.
“Sometimes older people don’t like change and to be honest Guido showed some resistance to wearing his GPS tracker watch at first, so we had to be patient. But he really likes the new model – it has both analogue and digital display and he loves showing people how he can change it just by swiping. He’s also got into a good routine of recharging it.”
In fact, the watch recently helped the family avoid an emergency when Guido spent a couple of weeks in a respite care centre. Anthony set up a geo-fence around the facility, so when Guido wandered out without staff knowing, the emergency alarm watch immediately sent alerts to family members, who called the centre and gave staff his location.
“He’d been gone a good half hour and they had not even registered he’d left the premises,” said Anthony.
“We were able to find him straight away with no drama or upset. It could have been very different if Guido hadn’t been wearing the GPS tracker watch. Giving Guido the freedom and flexibility to stay at home independently for as long as he can has been a major goal for the family and the watch really helps with that.”
Anthony’s family and carer tip: To support your loved one’s health and safety, set up a strong routine that covers all the necessities every single day and try to make it a habit.
Setting up a regular daily routine for meals, medication and personal care offers reassurance for both loved ones and carers and a strong positive focus around which to build the day.
Case Study 3
No More Fear: A ‘Before and After’ Story
Jenny Owen describes the day her son, Dylan Owen-Buoy went missing as the worst of her life. Dylan is 24, has autism, uncontrolled epilepsy and an intellectual disability. He had left his day care program to find fish and chips for lunch and got lost. He should not have been allowed to leave the centre, but mistakes do happen and this was one of them. Hours had passed. The police were called. The local community mobilised and scoured the streets.
As the police chopper flew overhead, just one of Jenny’s many fears was that he was overdue for his epilepsy medication and could have a seizure anytime, anywhere – without any of his trusted carers to support him. But there was no way to track him and little chance that Dylan, terrified and disoriented in unfamiliar surroundings, would be able to phone for help.
Thankfully, Dylan was found safe and well by some friendly construction workers on a building site he’d wandered onto. The relief for all concerned was enormous.
This incident occurred in a time Jenny now refers to as “before the mCareWatch”.
It was after Jenny saw a demonstration of the watch, which works as a mobile phone, personal GPS tracker and personal emergency alarm (among many other features) on television that she and Dylan entered what she calls “after the mCareWatch”.
“I have a background in disability care as well as my own personal experience with Dylan so when I saw this watch on tv when they were talking about using it for aged care and the elderly I thought this could translate perfectly for people with disabilities. It’s so discreet but it’s an all-in-one solution to so many problems,” Jenny explains.
Jenny explained the watch’s features to some of Dylan’s support workers, who thought it was a great idea.
“Once you know about it it’s just common sense,” says Jenny. “In our “after mCareWatch” time we have breathing space and so much peace of mind.”
“He loves the watch. He thinks it’s great. There was some initial reluctance about wearing it because it was something new, but once he saw that the other kids consider it just another cool device there was no going back,” Jenny explains. “It is very common for children with autism to be very tactile defensive and dislike wearing objects, so we knew that if he did not take to the watch that mCareWatch also has a special GPS Smartsole tracker that you can put inside a shoe so it doesn’t distract or upset in any way.”
“The workers are always ringing him on it to make sure he’s ok whether he’s at his cricket or his cooking program or working as a cattery volunteer. He has so much more freedom now. It’s just brilliant. It’s just chopped so much of the worry away.”
As Jenny went on to explain, she has actively shared her experience with the GPS tracker and emergency alarm watch with those she believes will benefit.
“A young man with autism went missing in Victoria recently and it brought back a lot of memories for us. If he’d had a watch it would have saved so much anguish and they could have found him so much quicker. My heart went out to that poor mother.”
Following that incident, Jenny wrote to Police Search and Rescue, Autism Victoria and the Epilepsy Foundation to let them know about what she calls a “common sense” solution to so many shared problems.
“We have also been able to get FAHCSIA funding to help pay for the watch and I want others to know about that, as well.”
The icing on the cake with Jenny and Dylan’s mCareWatch experience has been the personal touch with customer support.
“Because Dylan has pressed his panic alarm a few times we’ve got to know the people at the end of the phone very well. They’re so understanding and caring. Just the other day they called me and said “Dylan’s pressed his panic button again”. It’s so personalised. It makes you feel secure knowing there’s this whole other safety net there.”
Jenny’s caring support tips: the human touch is everything, so persist with finding and building both formal and informal support networks. And focus on the positive.
Being able to share tips and experiences with empathetic groups and individuals can be the best way to find tips and information that can make everyday life so much better and save you so much time and effort compared to just searching for it alone.
“After a couple of years now wandering the world, I have had to bring my dad home to oz, and he is now residing up in a secure dementia unit. So it is time to end this service please. Thank you Mcare for the service. It has helped us a lot. I even paid dad a surprise visit in Cambodia last year to check how things were getting on.
And with his Mcare watch it was easy to track him down riverside at dawn one day in Phnom Penh! And the other time it was of great use was 2 years ago when I was sending him to/from Cambodia on his own (assisted passage) but was able to track him and talk to him while transiting in Bangkok airport.
So thank you. I do recommend the capabilities of MCare Watch to others.”Mike Hughes
“I have been wearing the SOS Mobile Watch for close to two years and I’ve been very happy with it. I have only had to use the watch on one occasion when I had an emergency and it didn’t let me down. I managed to press the SOS button which called for help and my carer was able to organise the ambulance on my behalf. It’s a fantastic product which provides me with security and I’ve been telling everyone about it.”Murray Davidson
“The SOS Mobile Watch from mCareWatch saved my mother’s life. My mother was having chest pains and pressed the red SOS emergency button and it worked perfectly. I was at work at the time of the emergency and answered the incoming call from mum and was able to talk to her and find out that she needed help. After talking to mum I called for an ambulance and then called my mother back on the SOS Mobile Watch to reassure her that the ambulance was on the way and that I would meet her at the hospital. I’m so glad your product is on the market – thank you!”Lawrence Hawthorne
“Our inner-city Aged Care facility is home to three residents, proud wearers of the mCareWatch SOS Mobile Watches. Because of these wonderful devices, so much more than a mere watch, they can get about town again. They can meet friends, go to church or visit the pub, and all the while know we can find them and guide them home. Lost, confused, frightened? No more! They now feel free AND safe! It’s no exaggeration to say that their quality of life has improved dramatically, thanks to their SOS Mobile Watch.”Ross Conlan
“The SOS Mobile Watch is an amazing and tremendous product and I believe you should receive a Nobel Peace Prize. I have been able to call mum at any time and she doesn’t have to press any button and I can still talk to her. When mum gets confused about what day it is she can still press the button on the watch and be informed. Many of our family and friends who are of a similar age to my mum wear the emergency pendants which only work while at home, while your SOS Mobile Watch works everywhere. I have spent quite some talking about the benefits of the watch to my family and friends. The SOS Mobile Watch has helped mum a lot and given her constant security all the time. It keeps us constantly in contact all the time.”Anah Epifanidis
“I have been telling all my friends and family with elderly parents to look into purchasing your watch – it’s such a practical device and so reassuring for all concerned. We’ve been very happy with it to date.”Debra Marocchi
“Having an mCareWatch personal emergency alarm for my mother is pure peace of mind! I love the way I can call her and it is answered automatically. The staff are fabulous and extremely helpful!”Helen Savory
“I am very happy with the SOS Mobile Watch and think it is a wonderful product. My husband has dementia and is wearing the watch every day and I now feel a little more peace of mind knowing that he is wearing the watch. I am able to find out where he is through my mobile app and also call him and the watch automatically answers when I call which is great as he doesn’t need to remember to press any buttons on the watch. I am thrilled with the SOS Mobile Watch and only wish something like this was available when my mother was alive as she wore a traditional emergency pendant but I know she would’ve preferred wearing the watch.”Pam Woolfe