Just Checking – now for the direct-to-public market (UK)

Somewhat overshadowed this week by the high profile O2 launch, but highly complementary to it, was the launch of Just Checking’s (JC) new version for the general public. For many people concerned about relatives living with dementia the JC system of in-home sensors and text or email alerts triggered by various events or non-events will have great appeal.

Until now, JC systems have been primarily sold to services for assessment purposes. The new version is designed for easy self-installation and online management by carers and can be set up to trigger an alert under the following conditions:

  • Exit property: if an exterior door is used and no activity is detected in the property.
  • Not up and about: if there is no sign of life by a specified time in the morning.
  • Visitor late: with carers expected at certain times an alert can be sent if the front door is not opened as expected.
  • Door left open: if a door is left open for longer than a specified time. This will send an alert if the door has not been shut securely.

It does not have an alarm button and it does not track the person when outside – but there are other systems which can do that.

Product launch information. Information about the Your Voice campaign for carers launched alongside the product launch.

Follow the ‘Read more…’ link to see a video from 2010 showing ease of Just Checking self-installation.

[This video is no longer available on this site but may be findable via an internet search]
Categories: Latest News.


  1. Mark

    As editor Steve says this is overshadowed by the O2 announcement, but even so represents another significant move which will no doubt have appeal to many families trying to remotely care for loved ones. The only drawback I can see with this is cost. Having searched their website I think I’ve found the service under JUst Checking for Families and at £76 ex Vat per month to rent or £700 ex Vat to buy plus £36 ex Vat web service, it is perhaps going to be a tad on the pricey side. Still cheaper than carers doing the same checks I suppose.

    Time though will tell, and with similar and cheaper(?) products on the market such as Sen-cit, it means that the consumer is now being offered a far better choice of product. Cue a rash of Teletechnology or Remote Care advice shops springing up all over the country. Something else that will need regulating and accrediting, perhaps another job for TSA Man or Woman???


    Peace of mind is the true reason for having these systems. Not the cost of unnecessary visits from paid carers. Check calls are disappesaring rapidly anyway.

    Knowing your mum didn’t go for a walk in the middle of the night; knowing Dad did let the carers in so they get him ready for Day Services; knowing your sister does get a good night’s sleep; seeing for yourself that carers do stay for the full time they are paid to be there. Or vice versa in every case provides the evidence to base some of the most important decisions you are ever going to make in the best interests of your Dad – to encourage hime to go into Residential Care; to say to your Mum that she probably needs to move in with you to keep her safe. This is why I like JC and what it does.

    I do take issue with the heavily discounted three year package. Mum passes away after 9 months of a 36 month package but I am still paying for it? We all know data costs are nothing but we are at the mercy of the network providers – and the only people monitoring are family so you are not paying a monitoring centre for 24 hour protection. 1 year package plus a rolling month by month data fee of less than the £40 is needed (£512 per year monitoring cost is super steep).

  3. Cathy

    “It does not have an alarm button and it does not track the person when outside – but there are other systems which can do that.”

    I would rather see this addressed than a model with the extra features for families. It is more distressing for a family to know that Mum or Dad did go out last night but nobody has any idea where they went, yet if we pile on a series of bits of kit from different suppliers it starts to become too complex. Having one assessment tool that integrated data from JC and a GPS locator would be such a positive development.

    I always found JC to be an excellent assessment tool to evidence the assessment being made; I almost always found the family members offered access to join in the assessment fell into one of two camps: (a) needed lots of TLC and hand holding to understand what it is showing or (b) become so addicted to checking the charts that it starts to become voyeuristic.

    We completed some good assessments and used them to support Telecare interventions being put in place, we also used them to evidence that telecare was an inappropriate intervention for some people, but it would have been rare to even contemplate the family having a full time permanent installation of JC in place.

  4. To clarify, Just Checking for families can be bought or rented, with
    most families (yes, there many already) choosing to rent. Cost is £91.20 a month including VAT, although many users will be eligible for VAT relief, making it £76.00
    a month. Minimum 3 months rent, but we appreciate circumstances can
    change quickly, so after the initial period we stop payment
    immediately you notify us, and refund any outstanding part of the
    month. You can’t say fairer than that.

    Thanks for the comments, which will be fed into future product

    • UNATTR

      Hi Celia,
      I apologise – my prices were the professional ones and therefore a different kettle of fish altogether.
      Having a refund if circumstances change is fantastic and I applaud you for that option. I take it that this only applies to rented systems.
      I continue to utilise your product and it is excellent at what it does. We have had many cases where people have wanted to enter into a private agreement with yourselves following the use of this as an assessment tool and also a number of people have JC included in personal budgets. This is something we do not need to be a part of and is a simple private purchase. @Cathy – we have no need to get involved in this as it has nothing to do with us.

      • Cathy

        I appreciate the aspect of as a private purchase or rental it is nothing to do with professional care services UNATTR. I was referencing that in some cases it is not desirable because of how a family intend to use it; which can verge into Safeguarding territory.

        It fits in the “just because we can does not mean we should” space eg: I can drive a car BUT without a licence and insurance and tax I really shouldn’t?

        • UNATTR

          Hi Cathy,

          I think what we are talking about is of fundamental importance for the use of technologies to monitor people and it is great we are discussing it.

          My personal opinion is that if people put a valid enough reason in for the long term monitoring of people then the panel will pass the funding and approve the personal budget. The panel may also base their decision on ‘so long as this family keeps tabs on their mum then it is saving us a fortune’. Also, in the big wide world outside of any Social Care input I can ask my mum if it is OK to monitor her for her own good and she will say yes. Or she will say no and I will still go ahead with it because I know that in ten minutes time she will have forgotten.

          Safeguarding specialists (what a job) I have conversed with at length, and I mean at length, have quite clearly stated that anything is possible so long as you are doing it in the person’s best interest, are not causing harm, etc.

          If they family are, basically, stupid enough to say that they will be ‘monitoring Mum long term in order to rip her off every time she walks out of the house’ then it will obviously create an issue.

          However we must still realise that this is an over the counter purchase that anyone can do. It would be a hell of a safeguarding case if you could show that family were using surveillance techniques to somehow cause harm etc. to the person. It is not a specialist purchase nor is it a product that requires a licence.

          I think you must have been tired when you finished off your statement above (I do that to people) because it is illegal to drive a car without a licence, insurance or tax whereas I am yet to see someone arrested, charged and found guilty of monitoring Mum – a bit of a smart remark I know but hopefully you see what I mean.

          I have stated previously that I am by far not an expert and the majority of what I say is based on my personal experience so I love this type of debate that makes me think and learn from all you people that know so much more than me.

          I really am racking my brains to think of examples or situations where it could be reasonably shown/proven that families are using this type of system for ill gotten gains. Every time I do I counter argue; and my counter is always better. In a serious and genuine request could anybody out there in internet land provide something that would make me go ‘oh yeah, I didn’t think of that’?

          4000 words I think; at least a Level 7 something.

  5. Cathy

    No not tired UNATTR – just because it is illegal does not mean I cannot do it – just confirms that I should not … but what if I was driving a car to take someone to a doctor in an emergency because there was no ambulance available? still illegal but if I save their life is it justified?

    Okay this example does not relate to JC it relates to GPS technology. This is not a family up to no good this is a family looking for the easy life for them – and I am saddened when I say that. I was asked to go with a Care Manager to discuss GPS location for a male older service user. I had a little backstory; man had been admitted to hospital during an episode of mental ill health, had been discharged and received Enablement Care and was now fully discharged from hospital and ready to live independently with meals service and Community Alarm agreed.

    The discussion started with him and a family member and it became apparent to me within less than two minutes that this man knew exactly what the technology could do and he was very clear that he did not want the family (his children) tracking him 24/7. The family had already done their own research and decided that a well known GPS product was the perfect answer – it did not incorporate any mobile telephony). I probed a bit deeper into why that one and the answer was that they would know exactly where he was at all times.

    Undeterred I steered the discussion to some other possibilities and asked about mobile phones. The family had confiscated his mobile because he was ringing everyone in the contact list at 2am BEFORE he was admitted to hospital. He said he would really like his mobile back since he missed carrying it. Family member was adamant that they would not agree to that. I observed that there were mobiles that had limited calling facilities and maybe that was a compromise? Man was happy to consider these but family declined.

    Next we were discussing what he wanted to be able to do without the family tracking him. He said he wanted to go for his messages (range of shops within half a mile), to the hospital to catch the bus into town and to visit his wife in her care home. Family went on to tell me that it was a real nuisance because he would get on the bus and miss his stop; then get off the bus to look for a phone box, get distressed and then they had to stop what they were doing to rescue him.

    The bus in question follows the same route there and back. Now (a) the GPS location service they were set on would not have known about our local buses and (b) if he had had his mobile he could have called from the bus and been reminded to stay put until the bus turned round.

    No they were not returning his mobile at all. I did ask the man if he would agree to the GPS locator of their choice if he couldn’t be tracked within his geofence area yet still have appropriate alerts raised in that zone. Reluctantly he said he would (and I am confident if that had been the route they went the device would have been dumped somewhere in that geofence area). The device in question could not be customised to comply with that, although it was suggested to me tongue in cheek that we could just deactivate the alert on the unit so he didn’t know that he could be tracked – what do you think I said to that idea?

    On leaving the visit the Care Manager questioned why I was so adamant that the family were wrong – they were buying the thing so couldn’t they just buy what they wanted? No, the service user, their Dad was very explicit that he understood and did not consent, it would be unethical of us as professionals to condone that just because they could, although we could not stop them either.

    I did a follow up visit and a different family member was present; in the interval they had discussed what I had suggested were shortcomings in their plan and decided they wanted to consider alternatives but they were still not prepared to return his mobile phone. The alternative they eventually chose proved tricky to set up and got returned and effectively that man was incarcerated at home; he was physically capable of walking a mile or so, we didn’t need a capacity assessment to know that he knew exactly what his choices were and they were reasonable, he was no longer suffering the illness that had resulted in him behaving antisocially but the family’s intransigence remained. Within six months he was admitted to nursing care.

    There is a widespread belief that older people should be independent in her own home (as opposed to within their community) and so many families see a system like a GPS unit or a JC system as a way of making sure that Mum or Dad stays put. It is not their fault they think like that it is what we culturally as a nation have portrayed as being old age. They may not always do harm to the person but are they doing good? safeguarding is not all about ill gotten gains … it is very often about misinformed good intentions.

    I could pull out several more of these examples – it is not a one off – but probably not very interesting to everyone else?

    • UNATTR

      If the service user was deemed to have the capacity to make the decision as to whether he wanted the device or not then that is the end of it. From your example here and how you have described it I would take it that the person did have capacity to make that decision and then when he said ‘No’ that would be the end of it. If the family wanted to speak to him and organise it between themselves then that is for them to do. Unless a complaint is made by the chap or someone representing him about his family forcing him to have a tracker then there is nothing for social services to get involved with.

      We can’t, as workers, force people that have the capacity to make those decisions around their care to have systems or technologies in place that they don’t want; that is obvious. If a person is deemed as not having the capacity to make those decisions then we are not forcing systems/technology on them – we are simply putting things in place in the best interests of the person.

      I am yet to come across anybody who uses the JC system to keep anybody in. In theory with the text alert option you, as a carer, could contact the person but again they would have the level of understanding to have a mobile phone with them and to answer it and then to follow the instructions given.

      Probably the same as all things in life – anything can be used for evil or bad reasons but should we deny the majority that use it for good based on the few that don’t?

      IMHO if a family really want somebody in care inevitably that will happen because they pull out all the stops to ensure only the bad and negative is reported and recorded, every situation because life threatening and they will not continue their support which leaves LAs potentially liable as families will kick off in the press and in the courts.