For caregivers of older adults, especially those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, GPS trackers can help to ease the worry of their senior getting lost, wandering off, or worse.
The number of seniors with memory disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s is expected to rise to 75.6 million by 2030 and 135.5 million by 2050. Caregivers to people with these conditions know they often get confused or even lost both in places they know well and places new to them.
Wearable GPS tracking systems are a convenient and simple way to keep tabs on where older adults are at any given time. Of course, no one wants to feel like they’re being watched, but the risk for those with memory loss finding themselves in what seems like an unfamiliar place is a genuine concern. While the idea of wearing a device may be met with resistance by some seniors, they need to understand how a tracking device can allow them more freedom to come and go. The risk of getting lost or confused about where they are is less of a problem when they have a wearable GPS that will allow them to contact help quickly.
Apart from simply getting lost, GPS monitoring devices can also act as an emergency call service if a fall or other accident happens. With falls currently the number one cause of death for those 65 and over, this simple precaution can be the difference between life and death.
What are the top GPS tracking devices for older adults?
Before you invest in any device, talk with your senior about what you want to get and why. Your loved one must agree to wear whatever monitor you choose and understand how it works and, most of all, how it can help them stay safe. Here are some of the options currently available:
This device is made specifically for older adults and offers options for automatic fall notification and communication with family members by emergency service professionals. After two free months, the service fee is $49.95 per month.
- Lightweight and wearable as a necklace or clipped to clothing
- 24/7 monitoring, including a built-in two-way speaker
- Water-resistant so it can be worn in the shower
- Long-lasting battery (up to five days before needing recharging)
This tiny clip-on GPS tracker uses a combination of low-power G5 compatible network signals and multiple connection options, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cellular, to track your loved one. The monthly subscription starts at $8.99.
- Live-mode option for visual updates
- Long-lasting battery that can hold power for up to 10 days
- Notification option for when an individual arrives and leaves from specific locations
- Compatible with any carrier around the world
The AngelSense tracker learns your loved one’s routines and will notify you of unusual behavior—for example, if they are a no-show at an event or meal. One month of service and a SIM card are included, and the monthly fee is $39.99.
- Assistive speakerphone with auto-answer
- Emergency search tools for quick response by first responders
- Multiple locking wearable options for secure attachment to your older adult (additional purchase required)
- Nationwide 4G coverage
The GeoZilla tracker comes with a one-year data plan included in the price.
- Custom alerts for departure, arrival and location
- Geo-fence zones with notifications if your loved one leaves a specified area
- Clip-on or lanyard options
- Option for location updates every five minutes
Requiring a monthly subscription of $29.95, this product is designed for seniors and is a good option for those with health conditions that need monitoring.
- Emergency support available 24/7 at the touch of a button
- Voice-activated ability to answer questions regarding health issues
- Medication reminders
- Ability to track steps and heart rate
A built-in GPS tracker makes this Fitbit great for older adults who keep active and would enjoy tracking their steps, fitness progress and health status.
- Automatically shares unusual numbers with doctors and other medical staff
- Blood oxygen reader
- High and low heart rate notifications
- Ability to listen to music through earphones (sold separately)
Whatever type of GPS tracker you choose for your loved one, it should never take the place of a caregiver or loved one’s attention and monitoring. Likewise, a tracker shouldn’t give a false sense of security to either the older adult or those who care for them; it should be used as a tool in addition to conventional caregiving.