image of an elderly woman walking

How GPS Can Keep The Elderly Safe

When people think of global positioning technology, they often associate it with a car GPS tracking device. But there are many other applications for this kind of tech, and one of them involves the safety of elderly people afflicted with dementia.

Approximately 5.4 million people have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Of those, 5.2 million are aged 65 years and older. When this disease afflicts them, it can start creating cognitive impairment. People can start to forget memories from their past, how to live independently, and fail to recognize loved ones. Making matters worse, the disease can cause patients to wander, and they can become disoriented and get lost very easily.

Protecting Your Loved Ones

When a person with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia gets lost, the stress can be significant, to say the least. More and more caregivers and families are turning to tracking services in order to keep their loved ones safe. Keep reading, because today we’re going to talk about a few of the benefits of GPS-enabled technology for those suffering from dementia and their families and caregivers.

  • Not everyone experiences dementia the same way and, in fact, people can experience very different degrees of cognitive impairment. For those with a mild condition, GPS systems allow them to retain a healthy degree of independence while still being protected. GPS allows caregivers to receive nearly instantaneous data about the elder’s location, as well as a historical log showing daily patterns of movement. For seniors still enjoying their independence, this strikes an excellent balance between their freedom and their safety.
  • For someone further along with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, though, they need to be monitored constantly. But things happen, and if they should wander off unsupervised, they can be in serious danger. With a GPS-enabled cellphone or bracelet, those who are authorized to view the elder’s account can find their whereabouts nearly immediately, and use accurate turn-by-turn directions to get to them. This feature can be a lifesaver for family, caregivers, and emergency responders.
  • But what if the person experiencing dementia has gotten out, and also experiences other health problems? A cellphone that’s correctly equipped with GPS, or a medical alert system, can notify first responders within seconds. It eliminates the need for a person to speak into a phone. First responders just need to view their location upon a screen, and they can reach the elder quickly.
  • While we know about the benefits of GPS, let’s talk about the specifics of how it works. They have the choice to either provide their elder with a cellphone that has global positioning capabilities, or the senior can wear a tracker around their wrist that can also work as a watch. The tracker not only pinpoints their location, but it can also be programmed to have a radio frequency safe zone. If they walk outside of this zone, the caregiver will be immediately notified that a “breach” in the perimeter has occurred.

According to studies performed by the Alzheimer’s Association, 60% of people afflicted with dementia will wander. As time goes on, their disorientation will happen for longer amounts of time. While this can be highly dangerous, GPS technology can help to keep them safe and secure.