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Tracking Mom: An Overview of Devices to Help Watch Wandering Relatives

An increasing number of adults are now taking care of their aging relative at home. This comes with many challenges, but these challenges grow more dangerous if the elderly parent or grandparent suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s and tends to wander. It is simply impossible for a caregiver to be in all places at all times. Luckily, there are wonderful devices on the market to help keep track of wandering relatives and keep them safer than ever before.

What Do Elder Tracking Devices Do?

GPS tracking devices for elderly patients consist of a base that sets a safe zone location for the person to be in, and a wearable locator that should be attached to the Alzheimer’s patient at all times or put in their car if they still drive. This keeps track of where the person is, and if they wander outside of that designated area. This allows family or dedicated caregivers to find them quickly and without trouble.

There are multiple types of GPS tracking devices for elderly relatives who wander.

How are the Devices Worn?

Since some people with dementia not only wander but also have the compulsion to remove clothing and accessories, trusting them to voluntarily wear a GPS device will not work in most cases. Some trackers come in the form of a wristwatch or bracelet that can be securely affixed to their wrist. There are also those that can be inserted in the sole of their shoe. This can be hidden under a sole insert so the wearer doesn’t even know it is there. Other tracking devices have various clips that can be attached to the belt or other clothing.

Some are designed not to be worn, but instead put into the person’s car. This is for elderly parents who are still relatively independent and can still drive themselves to shops or their doctor appointments.

How is the Safe Zone Set Up for the Dementia Sufferer?

For trackers used at home or in a care center, a device is positioned in a central location and a radius is set up for the person to stay in. It works very similarly to an ankle bracelet for house arrest in the judicial system, but the intention is to keep an elderly relative safe instead of punishing them.

If the senior goes outside this area, one of two things happens. First, the device can immediately notify the caregiver or family member through their cell phone, and they can rush over to rescue the wanderer. Second, the device can notify a central response company such as LifeAlert or MedicAlert who will then contact the family and emergency services as necessary.

When your elderly mom or dad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, there are so many unknowns about their new behavior and ability level. To give family members and caregivers peace of mind, consider using new technology to help keep track of their movements. If he or she begins to wander, a GPS tracking device can be a literal lifesaver.

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