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Man's life is saved by locating device


The wife of a man from Midhurst, who went missing while on holiday, has said that Chichester Careline's Mindme locating device for those with dementia, saved his life.

John Dunn, 73, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease six months ago, had been walking with his family near Durdle Door on Christmas day, when he went missing.

Thankfully, John was wearing the Mindme device, which can locate someone anywhere in Europe, as long as there is a mobile connection.

His wife, Rosemary Dunn, 62, called Chichester Careline to ask if they could locate her husband. 

Staff from Chichester Careline explained his co-ordinates to a South Western Ambulance volunteer responder and the Lulworth Coastguard Rescue Team, who had joined the family in their search. They located John on a farm track just north of Bats Head, west of Durdle Door.

John was in a distressed state when he was found. He had attempted to get over a barbed wire fence, resulting in a number of cuts, and was stuck in some mud. He was airlifted to Dorset County Hospital suffering from the early signs of hypothermia.

Rosemary said, "If John hadn't been wearing the device around his neck, it would have been very difficult to locate him."

"I panicked as soon as I realised that John was missing. It was surprising how far he got in such a short space of time."

Rosemary adds, "I cannot explain how much of relief it is to know that when you have lost someone that there is a way of finding them again. If it hadn't been for the people helping us, I dread to think what would have happened.

"The device assists us on a regular basis. For example, if I'm sorting the washing out upstairs and John happens to leave the house for a walk, I know that I will be able to locate him if he doesn't return. On another occasion, John asked if he could wait for me while I popped into a shop for two minutes. When I returned, John had walked off. However, I was able to call Chichester Careline, who told me exactly where I could find him.

 "The device gives John his freedom and provides me with the reassurance that I can find him if he wanders. It is absolutely invaluable and I wouldn't be without it. Knowing what a difference the device has made to us, I now want to make sure that others in a similar position are aware that this is available."

Mindme is a locating device that can attach to your house keys, place in your pocket, or hang around your neck.

It is available to anyone in the UK and is monitored by Chichester Careline, which is run by Chichester District Council. The service supports those who are vulnerable, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

The device, which has already helped to save a number of lives, is a small GPS locator. If a person becomes lost or disorientated, they can be located through a dedicated website by their family, or Chichester Careline. The device sends details of its location to the website every four minutes, and is thought to be the smallest GPS locating device in this country.

A further version has also been created with a button that allows the user to speak directly to Chichester Careline. This version is now being used to provide reassurance to carers; lone workers; those who are recovering from an illness and those who are vulnerable, or at risk.

Not only has the device been popular with individuals, but police forces, local authorities and health authorities from across Europe are now using the device with great success.

"We are delighted that our Mindme device helped to locate John and that he is now fully recovered," said Cllr Eileen Lintill, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Community Services at Chichester District Council.

"The device helps to give freedom to those with dementia, and reassurance to their families - 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Even on Christmas day, the service is helping to save lives - as this case shows.

"It quite literally has helped to transform people's lives. Even if someone is recovering from a major illness, they are able to continue with their day to day lives and know that our Chichester Careline service is there if they need it."

Chichester Careline is the only centre in the country, monitoring the devices. They are able to locate the person if they become lost - regardless of where they are in Europe (as long as they have a mobile network). Information on the location of the person will only be provided to the carer or family once a series of security checks have been passed. This same procedure is on the website. The centre, which also monitors lone workers and other vulnerable groups of people, helped to get the idea off the ground and operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Please visit or call 01243 778688 to find out more.