According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, the percentage of individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is set to increase to 75.6 million by the year 2030 and to 135.5 million by 20501.
Dementia, along with other related conditions, can often cause seniors to get lost or become confused in unfamiliar and familiar places.
If your aging parent or a senior relative becomes disorientated or lost at times, it may be the right time to consider using a GPS tracker app or wearable devices to keep track of their whereabouts or to locate them during an emergency.
These apps provide seniors a level of safety and can be used to offer a lifeline in an emergency and a way to get them help when they need it the most.
The latest technology relating to GPS medical-alert systems has undergone significant changes in the way seniors receive 24-hour care even while still living in their own homes.
These changes in technology offer both autonomy to seniors and peace of mind for caregivers.
Best GPS Tracker Apps For The Elderly
Tell My GEO
Tell My GEO is one of the Android applications that is installed on the device of the caregiver and the senior. It gives updates about the location of the senior every 15 minutes.
It is rated among the top apps currently available to keep track of the location of a loved one. Tell My GEO is a free app that can be downloaded on the Google Play Store.
Senior Safety App
This is another free yet unobtrusive app that was designed to keep the elderly safe. The Senior Safety App remotely monitors the location of the phone and is very useful to protect against wandering, falls, or online abuse and scams.
Once installed on the smartphone of a senior, caregivers receive safety alerts along with monitoring options through a secure online control panel.
This is a very popular application with concerned children of a senior, caregivers, and in senior-care facilities too.
With the use of a state-of-the-art GPS tracker, the Senior Safety App can help to keep your senior loved one safe with help requests, alerts sent for emergencies, entry or exits from geo-locations, and detects when the phone has been inactive (for a long time).
RELATED: Why Emergency Apps For The Elderly Are So Important (And Some Choices)
The app was built to assist seniors in leading more independent lives, while their caregivers or loved ones are easy to access with a few simple clicks.
Which Phones Have Built-In GPS Tracking?
GPS, which stands for Global Positioning System, is an innovative device that allows users to keep track of their locations. Today, the majority of modern smartphones include built-in GPS systems.
So tracking the phone will generally require a suitable app. Such applications are designed to record the location of the mobile phone (at regular intervals) and then send the data back to the user of the phone.
The RAZ Memory Cell Phone
The RAZ Memory Cell Phone is one of the phones that include a built-in GPS tracking system that ensures the elderly with conditions like dementia stay constantly connected to a caregiver or loved one when at home or when they leave home.
The RAZ Memory Cell Phone features a one-touch dial picture that is focused on simplicity. It only includes one main screen, which is made up of 3 elements:
- The names and pictures of 6 contacts (with an option to increase this number to 30)
- A dedicated button for calling 911
- An Alternative RAZ Emergency Service to prevent unwanted 911 calls (this will require a subscription)
- Signal strength, battery power, and time
That is it! There are no other settings or applications that might cause confusion. No distractions or voicemail. Just tap on the image of the person you would like to call.
The Remote Manage feature with the RAZ Memory Cell Phone offers caregivers or concerned children a way to “remotely” manage every aspect of an elderly person’s cell phone via the online portal or a very simple app.
The portal and/or app can be used by caregivers to edit or create contacts, send the senior a reminder, set hours where the senior can’t place calls, and track the locations of either the user or the phone.
Alternative Tracking Devices
The use of GPS trackers for seniors can bring an elderly parent home and provide peace of mind and reassurance for family members and caregivers of seniors with conditions like dementia.
Comfortable, wearable smart technology designed to keep the wearer safe at a very reasonable price.
Medical Guardian offers different options for seniors and families, such as medical alert devices, GPS trackers, personal-emergency response systems, and in-home devices.
These offers also include a 24/7 monitoring service and fall detection that offers an all-inclusive security offering.
AngelSense Elderly GPS Tracker And App
Easy to connect and use with a smartphone app using SOS features and GPS tracking.
The AngelSense GPS Tracker is one of the unique options that combines a mobile app and a GPS tracker service plan which includes full-day location updates, unlimited notifications, real-time technical support, email alerts, and late-departure warnings.
AngelSense is the ideal solution for people with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other types of memory issues since it assists with preventing mistreatment and wandering while still promoting independence and reducing caregiver anxiety and stress.
PocketFinder is a waterproof, compact GPS finder that provides precise and accurate locations using WiFi, GPS, and cellphone connection. This is an incredibly reliable and safe device.
The latest PocketFinder models use all the location technologies, which include Google Wi-Fi touch, Cell ID, and GPS, for accurate indoor and outdoor locating. It also includes an SOS button.
- These devices provide text and email updates for either a phone or computer, which includes the speed that the tracker is traveling at and a precise location.
- The app is available for both iOS and Android devices.
- It includes a geo-fence zone along with a tracking history of up to 60 days.
Ethical Considerations: Should You Tell Your Elderly Loved One That You Are Tracking Them?
Some elderly people may feel as if their privacy is infringed upon if they are tracked by someone, and this includes their family members.
There are very legitimate privacy gripes that a person may have, but in some cases, a level of privacy should be surrendered for the safety or peace of mind that can be gained.
After all, it is believed that both the caregivers and patients that suffer from dementia believe that the advantages outweigh the risks or the harm that can arise due to confusion or wandering.
The Privacy Concerns Of Tracking A Person Unknowingly
The family member of the caregiver has to be 100% certain that they are using a tracking device in the best interest of a senior. And it is best to first gain the consent of the person.
It can even be regarded as illegal in certain areas when consent has not been provided. It could also depend on the medical status of the person since they may not or may be able to provide “legal consent.”
In some cases, when the family member has what is known as a “medical power of attorney,” this might be good enough. But for those that are not sure, it may be a good idea to first consult with a lawyer if they have concerns relating to this issue.
These devices are designed to assist a senior in regaining some level of normalcy, which will allow them to live a bit more independently. Therefore, at some stage, you may have to sit down with your elderly parent or a loved one that has this condition.
Tips For Having This Talk
If you have a loved one that is not that thrilled about the thought of having to download a tracking app on their phone or wear one of the tracking devices, there are a few ways to gently persuade them to agree to your idea.
There are several benefits you can use in your discussion to make it appear that it is the best thing for them.
To begin with, let your loved ones know that it will allow them more freedom to roam and live a more normal life. Otherwise, they might need someone at their side all the time.
You can also tell them that a GPS tracker can give them more peace of mind and freedom since you won’t be calling every 5 minutes to check on them. You will be surprised at how fast your loved one might jump at this opportunity once they have heard that.
You should also invite them to help you choose a GPS tracker that will match up with what they need. They may be assuming that you are expecting them to wear something like a collar.
Give them more information on the latest technology that will allow them to use the device discreetly and easily, such as an app on their phone or something like a pendant, wristband, wristwatch, or necklace.
When they know about the different options and are given the opportunity to choose something they like, they will be more open to accepting that they will be tracked 24/7.
Overall, if you have a parent or elderly loved one with dementia or any other memory loss disease, it is always best to follow proactive approaches.
While a loved one may be fighting back about the idea of being tracked all the time, this is one of those fights that is worth it.
Once you have one of the tracking apps or devices in place, you as the family member or a caregiver are offered a lot more assurance that your loved one is safe regardless of the time of day or night.
It also allows your loved one to feel more independent, not having to answer your calls all day long asking if they are okay and where they are.
By removing the risks of getting lost or disorientated, your loved one can gain a better quality of life when you know about their whereabouts at all times.