From: News Limited Network, Natasha Bita June 23, 2013

A WATCH that works as a phone, tracking device and emergency alarm is being marketed to families fretting about elderly relatives living alone.

The Australian-designed mCareWatch uses real-time GPS – which could be dubbed a “granny positioning system” – so carers can track the wearer’s whereabouts.

Carers can talk to the wearer via the “watch” in emergencies.

And in a crisis, the wearer just needs to hit the SOS button to alert friends or relatives.

The one-touch, pre-programmed button then calls up to three family members on their mobile phones.

The watch’s co-inventor, Paul Apostolis, said the device would work anywhere with Optus mobile coverage.

The idea for the hi-tech SOS watch came after his father suffered a stroke while out driving, without his mobile phone.

“Like many older people, our parents have a mobile phone but seldom use it, and it’s often left at home or uncharged,” he said.

“We see this as the perfect support for older people who are not ready to give up their independence, and families who are worried about their whereabouts and well-being.”

Angels in Aprons is another new business designed to help busy families care for frail relatives.

The Brisbane company’s founder, Sharon Douglas, said family members interstate asked her to check on their parents or grandparents at home, visit them in hospital or chaperon them to medical appointments.

“A lot of family members phone me to call on their loved ones once a week to have a cup of tea or play a game of Scrabble, or take them to the park and sit in the sun,” she said yesterday.

“Some people just don’t have enough time to care for them, with all the doctors’ visits and appointments – it’s like having a young child again.”

One of her clients, Cathy Pangalo, has serious health problems herself, so uses the service to help care for her 82-year-old mother, Patricia Nolan.

“I can’t do a lot of things so Sharon takes Mum to appointments,” Ms Pangalo said.

“She’s filling a gap, and it gives me peace of mind.”

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