Life 360

Being terminally ill can take over your life and it certainly leaves your loved ones worrying about you, especially when you are alone. A while ago, we enquired with the community social services team in Surrey, to see if there was any kind of alarm system that could alert my carer or my next of kin, when I had a seizure, had fallen indoors or needed urgent assistance when out and about. They informed us that we could have a home alarm system fitted, but there was a catch.

To have this system fitted, we would have to foot the bill for installation and would have to pay a large fee to be registered and re-register every 12 months, with the company who send out alerts to your chosen emergency contacts. Living on the breadline leaves little to no money to afford luxuries. I consider the alarm system a luxury, otherwise most disabled people would have these systems in place.

We then searched online for home alarm systems. Again, some were; expensive, or had loud alarms, didn’t meet all our wants and needs, most had bad reviews and others just looked too good to be true. So that’s when we turned to the App Store. Sadly, we couldn’t find anything that suited us at the time, it was then something we put on the back burner.

Last Wednesday, my friends dropped Tywin off to me from the breeder. Chloe, has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome just like me and her husband, Michael (who’s mother was Tywin’s breeder), is a Type 1 Diabetic. I was briefly discussing this alarm system we had looked into, when Michael showed me an App on his phone. It is called Life 360. Their family use it due to their illnesses, having elderly or sick relatives and because they have children.

Feel free, together.

Life360 brings your family closer with smart features designed to protect and connect the people who matter most.

After Michael showed me the App in detail, I decided to download it myself from App Store and have a really in-depth look at all the features using my personal details. It is an app based on your GPS location, it is free to download and free to use all the main features, but you can pay a small premium if you want to, to unlock extra capabilities within the app. You create a private group called ‘a circle’ and it generates a unique code that you can send to your emergency contacts/friends/family/work colleagues, etc.

Your contacts then download the Life 360 App themselves, enter the unique code you provided them with and they join your private circle. Only the people that you invite to your private circle are able to see your GPS location. Within each circle, you can; instant message everyone or individuals, view everyones GPS location, create names for recently visited locations e.g. Work, Home, Gym, etc. and you can send an ‘Alert’. This is why I downloaded the app, I needed to use the alert system.

Being 25, disabled, running a household, being a mother, training a new puppy, having hospital appointments all over Surrey & London and generally being busy, means I am always here, there & everywhere. After spending months trying to find a decent, user friendly and inexpensive way to alert my loved ones when I am desperate need of care, I was over the moon to have Life 360 up and running.

A view of my personal Life 360 profile

One element that is important to me about using Life 360, is that allows me to travel further afield and maintain my independence, without my loved ones struggling to track me down, should at some point I not be able to use my phone. Due to my seizure activity, I can at times forget how to use my phone.

For example; if I visit my hair salon and Anthony rings me, I may not answer the phone and he may become worried. Now he can open the Life 360 App, see my exact location, Google the salon I am in, find their phone number and call the salon to ask if I am okay. Simple!

This also means that should I be out alone, I can enter the App, hit the alert button and my emergency contacts get an immediate phone call/email/text/notification, telling them I am trouble and need immediate assitance. If they then call me and get no response, they can contact the emergency services with my exact location and that gives all parties a better chance of saving my life!

Life 360

My circle is called “Willow Needs Help!”. I have my 3 emergency contacts added to this circle. They can now keep me safe from afar and check up on me as often as they like, without blowing up my phone or disrupting my activities, whilst giving themselves peace of mind.

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Ella Hollis

Trying to find normality amongst multiple chronic illnesses.

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