When a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, his or her behaviors can be hard to predict. Disorientation, a common symptom of these conditions, can lead to wandering. Whether in familiar or unfamiliar surroundings, those who wander away from family, caregivers and memory care communities increase their risk of worsening confusion, distress and even serious injury. The good news? There are ways to keep seniors with dementia safer. GPS trackers are available to make locating loved ones – and bringing them home safely – easier.
How GPS Trackers Promote Senior Safety and Peace of Mind
Approximately 75.6 million people are expected to be living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia by 2030, and that number jumps to 135.5 million by 2050. There is an increasing need for resources that memory care communities, at-home caregivers and family members can use to help keep these seniors safe. A number of GPS tracking devices currently on the market can be a big help to families and caregivers worried about wandering.
Here Are 13 Helpful Tracking Tools and Programs Available TodayNot sure where to start when it comes to choosing GPS technology? These 13 trackers offer unique ways to keep loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia from losing their way.
1. iTraqTM: This credit card-sized device uses Wi-Fi triangulation (for indoor tracking) as well as GPS and cellular tower triangulation for accurate location wherever cellular service exists. The device also includes fall detection, scheduled reporting and geo-fencing features, which means you’ll receive alerts if or when the iTraq goes beyond your pre-set radius.
2. AngelSense Elderly GPS Tracker and App: With this GPS tracker/mobile app combination, a simple device attached to your loved one’s clothing provides unlimited notifications, full-day location updates, late departure warnings and email alerts for a monthly service fee. Real-time technical support is also available.
3. GPS Smart Sole®: This wearable technology puts real-time satellite monitoring in a sole that can be placed in your loved one’s shoe. Families and caregivers can set up a “safe zone” for the senior equipped with the device and receive alerts from the ergonomic GPS SmartSole, via a smart locator app and map, wherever T-Mobile coverage is available. The SmartSole has a two- to three-day battery life with normal use and will alert caregivers when the charge is low.
4. Mindme: These key fob-sized personal alarms and location devices use GPS to sound an alarm and provide location updates if a user moves outside a family’s or caregiver’s pre-set location. Seniors using the device can also contact a Mindme response center in case of emergency, and the location device reports a user’s location, within 30 feet, every five minutes.
5. PocketFinder®: These small, waterproof, long-battery-life devices let caregivers and families view their loved one’s GPS location – providing an address, altitude, speed at which the device is moving and caregiver distance from the location through PocketFinder app email and text notifications. PocketFinder also lets caregivers set an unlimited number of geo-fences, alerting them when the GPS user leaves specified areas.
6. Trax®: The smallest and lightest real-time tracker on the market, Trax clips use GPS and GLONASS (another satellite navigation system) for increased precision. Trackers can be monitored with easy-to-use smartphone and desktop web apps, and each device features geo-fence security, proximity and speed alerts, and an augmented reality fast-find feature.
7. Revolutionary Tracker: GPS-enabled smart watches allow caregivers or family members to set up safe zones, receive alerts and locate seniors wearing the device through voice command. These devices also support emergency signals and audio conversations between the user and caregiver, offering even more ways to locate and calm someone who is wandering.
8. SafeLink: Available as small GPS trackers or discreet GPS watches, these devices locate a user within a few feet, whether he or she is indoors or outdoors. Programmable geo-fences alert families and caregivers when the wearer is outside of a specific area, and the devices include an SOS button for emergencies.
9. SpyTec Mini GPS Tracker: The 2-inch-long STI GL300 Real-Time GPS Tracker monitors your loved one’s location with pinpoint accuracy and fits easily into a pocket, purse or bag. It can track those on foot or in vehicles from anywhere using a phone, tablet or computer. Caregivers can set special alerts to be notified by text or email when the tracker arrives at a certain place and to receive alerts when the user enters or leaves a geo-fenced area. The device has up to a two-week battery life.
10. Yepzon One Personal GPS Locator: Connect this locator to a smartphone, attach the tracking device to anything and follow your loved one’s location easily with the mobile app. These trackers feature the longest-lasting battery on the market, up to four months with one charge.
11. SPOT Gen3®: These devices offer adults with dementia a critical, life-saving line of communication when they travel beyond the boundaries of cell service, letting caregivers or family know their whereabouts or sending emergency responders to their GPS location with the push of a button.
12. MedicAlert® Safely Home: This program is a partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Canada. Originally designed to help emergency responders care for those who couldn’t speak for themselves, the program is now focused on people living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia who go missing. The program features a GPS-tracking wristband, emergency hotline, family notification and MedicAlert ID that promote easy identification and rapid reunions with families and caregivers.
13. Project Lifesaver®: People enrolled in Project Lifesaver wear a small personal transmitter around the wrist or ankle that emits an individualized tracking signal. If the wearer goes missing, a caregiver notifies the local Project Lifesaver agency, and a trained emergency team responds to the area the wearer was last tracked. Project Lifesaver can reduce search times from hours or days to minutes, and most people are found within a few miles of their homes. Recently, Project Lifesaver added a technology that provides a radio frequency “safe zone,” notifying caregivers of departures from that radius.
GPS tracking can provide peace of mind for family and caregivers and a safety net for a senior in danger of wandering. Learn more about each device and program to determine which one is the right fit for you and your loved one.