Fortunately, location devices with GPS tracking technology have introduced a new way for caregivers and families to prevent wandering emergencies in loved ones. Learn more about 10 lifesaving location devices for dementia.
Wandering adds more confusion to the lives of those already dealing with a disorienting disease, and leads many people with Alzheimer’s or dementia into unsafe situations. Location and elderly GPS tracking devices for dementia are an increasing option for families and caregivers trying to reduce wandering.
Here are 10 location devices that are being used to keep loved ones with the disease safe:
A new cellular tracking device that came out this year, iTraq is the “world’s first global location device that can be found anywhere.” It uses cellular towers to determine location, allowing it to be used anywhere there is service around the world. The device itself is as small as a credit card, and its location is reported to you through a mobile application which allows you to view a map of locations and timestamps. iTraq also features a “Guard Mode” where users can specify a radius on a map, then receive alerts if/when the iTraq goes beyond your pre-set radius. This means that you could receive notification if a loved one wandered from home, and also be able to track where they are with accuracy.
2. Project Lifesaver
Fulfilling their mission to “provide a timely response to save lives and reduce potential injury for adults and children who wander due to Alzheimer’s, autism and other related condition or disorders,” Project Lifesaver’s GPS tracking program has helped rescue 2,983 people. We spoke with Gene Saunders, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Project Lifesaver, who shares more about the technology – a small PAL (Protect and Locate) tracker worn around the wrist – that has saved so many from wandering. “Citizens enrolled in Project Lifesaver wear a small personal transmitter around the wrist or ankle that emits an individualized tracking signal. If an enrolled client goes missing, the caregiver notifies their local Project Lifesaver agency, and a trained emergency team responds to the wanderer’s area. Most who wander are found within a few miles from home, and search times have been reduced from hours and days to minutes. Recovery times for PLI clients average 30 minutes — 95% less time than standard operations.” Saunders adds: “Recently, Project Lifesaver has added a new technology… that can also provide a radio frequency safe zone around them that notifies the caregiver in the event an at risk individual breaches this established safe zone.”
Mindme offers assistance to families dealing with dementia and wandering in the form of both an alarm and location device. Both devices are about the size of an electronic care key, and use GPS to provide location, updates and an alarm if a user moves out of a preset location. Though, the alarm allows the user to specifically contact a Mindme response center in case of an emergency and the location device primarily reports location within 30 feet every 5 minutes. According to Mindme, both devices can be used to “let you get on with your life, knowing you can get help whenever and wherever you need it.”
4. Comfort Zone Check-In
A solution to wandering from the Alzheimer’s Association, the Comfort Zone Check-In application allows caregivers to use a small tracking device or a Sprint cell phone to monitor their loved one with dementia. The “only system designed specifically with Alzheimer’s in mind” reports daily scheduled location alerts to caregivers from the user’s device, and also gives families access to all of the resources the Alzheimer’s Association offers, including a 25/7 helpline, counseling, referrals and other support.
PocketFinder offers multiple industry leading GPS devices to help you track a loved one. The devices are all small, water-proof and have one of the longest battery lives that allow you to not only view a GPS location, but also an address, your distance from the address, an altitude and the speed that the device is moving. The PocketFinder app provides updates to you “at the touch of a button,” whether on your computer or mobile device, through email and text notifications. It also provides an unlimited number of “geo-fences” that alert you when the GPS leaves a specified area and provides up to 60 days of tracking history.
With a focus on allowing loved ones to maintain their freedom and independence, and on giving caregivers the “comfort of knowing that SafeLink is watching over them,” SafeLink GPS is a great tracking solution for families. Their devices range from a small GPS tracker to a discreet GPS watch, which can locate within a few feet of a user and also approximate location – whether a user is indoors or outside, for instance. The devices also offer a virtual geo-fence to alert when the wearer is outside of a specific area, and an SOS button for emergencies along with location information.
7. GPS Smart Sole
One of the premier “wearable technologies,” GPS Smart Sole is an innovative technology that puts satellite monitoring in a sole that can be placed into a shoe to provide real-time tracking of a user. The soles offer peace of mind for families who can set up a safezone for a user and receive alerts from the ergonomic GPS SmartSole along with a smart locator app and map, wherever T-Mobile coverage is available. The SmartSole also has a 2-3 day battery life with normal use, and will alert caregivers by email or text notifications when the battery is low.
8. Revolutionary Tracker
Revolutionary Tracker provides “peace of mind at a single touch” in the form of a GPS enabled locator, smart phone, watch and other solutions for families dealing with dementia. These Revolutionary Tracker devices can set up safe zones, send alerts to caregivers and can locate with a voice command. The devices can also monitor a GPS device’s environment and support an SOS and audio conversation between the user and caregiver, making it a uniquely qualified solution to wandering.
9. Bluewater Security
With both U.S. and Canada locations, Bluewater Security’s dementia GPS tracking watches allow international monitoring. The devices were specifically designed to address at-risk seniors and they implement an alarm system that will sound if the watch and GPS receiver become separated. One remarkable feature is the ability to locate the street address and postal code of the user’s location anywhere on a map worldwide from a computer or smart phone.
10. MedicAlert Safely Home
MedicAlert’s Safely Home program is partnered with The Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, who has more than 50 years of experience “enhancing the safety of people with dementia.” The program was originally created to help emergency responders treat those who couldn’t speak for themselves effectively, but now focus on assisted people living with dementia who go missing. The program features a MedicAlert ID, emergency hotline and family notification, that, when combined, is an “effective way to identify the person who is lost” and helps “bring the family back together.”
We would like to thank Caitlin Burm for this article. She is a digital content writer and editor who studied Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. She currently develops senior care and health content, and is inspired by her grandmother who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. In her spare time, Caitlin enjoys traveling across the U.S. with her husband and Australian Shepherd.