Nerd Knowledge: Keeping Track of Seniors
Recently, a 74-year-old man, who had wandered off, was found dead less than a block from his home. Had GPS tracking technology been in use, he might be alive today. Charles offers a number of devices to help with keeping track of your aging relatives.
For the past two weeks, I have been giving tips on cybersecurity for Seniors. A recent news event has prompted me to give some tips on making sure your aging loved ones, particularly those suffering from cognitive impairment remain safe.
Recently, a 74-year-old man, who had wandered off, was found dead less than a block from his home. Had GPS tracking technology been in use, he might be alive today.
The number of people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease is expected to rise to 75.6 million by 2030, and 135.5 million by 2050. Dementia and other similar conditions often cause older adults to become disoriented or lost in both familiar and unfamiliar places. The use of GPS technology can bring your aging loved one safely home and provide peace of mind for relatives, spouses, and caregivers.
Wandering is a behavior associated with those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Disorientation caused by these diseases makes even familiar surroundings seem unfamiliar to seniors, causing many people with cognitive impairment to get into dangerous situations.
Here is a list of devices that will help keep track of Seniors who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia.
AngelSense GPS Tracker
The AngelSense GPS tracker is a unique offering that combines a GPS tracker and mobile app with a monthly service plan that includes unlimited notifications, full day location updates, late departure warnings, email alerts, and real-time technical support. AngelSense initially entered the market as a service to track children and those with special needs (such as autism) and then eventually expanded into the elderly tracking market. This solution is perfect for individuals with dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, and other memory problems, as it helps prevent wandering and mistreatment while promoting independence and reducing family caregiver stress and anxiety. The AngelCall feature also allows families to talk to their elderly loved one directly without the need for them to “pick-up” the device. AngelSense offers three pricing plans and provides free support by phone.
PocketFinder + and PocketFinder Vehicle
The latest PocketFinder Trackers, which are basically key fobs, utilize GPS, Cell ID, and Google Wi-Fi touch, for accurate outdoor and indoor locating. It also has an SOS button. Geo-fences can be established to alert the caretaker when the user is out of boundaries. Information can be provided by these trackers on a smartphone, tablet, or pc.
iTraq determines its position using Wi-Fi triangulation (for indoor tracking) as well as GPS and cellular tower triangulation that allows iTraq to be located anywhere in the world where cellular service exists. There’s also fall detection, scheduled reporting, and geo-fencing capabilities. In some configurations, battery life can also last up to four months. iTraq is compatible with iOS and Android-based devices.
Trax is the smallest and lightest real-time tracker on the market, combining GPS and GLONASS for increased precision. Single or multiple trackers can be monitored via easy-to-use Smartphone (iOS/Android) and desktop web apps. Trax boasts an array of features including geo-fence security, proximity and speed alerts, and an Augmented Reality fast-find feature. Trax is small in size but big on technology and fits easily into a pocket or bag.
Yepzon Personal GPS Locator
The Yepzon personal GPS Locator tracks the location of your loved one every 10 seconds. It can work with any mobile device and the battery life is suitable to last several weeks (even months) depending on how often you need to use it.
SPOT 3 Satellite GPS Messenger
Spot Gen3 gives aging adults a critical, life-saving line of communication when they travel beyond the boundaries of cell service. The latest generation of award-winning SPOT devices, SPOT Gen3 lets family and friends know their loved one is okay, or if the worst should happen, sends emergency responders to their GPS location – all with the push of a button.
The GPS SmartSole provides peace of mind for family members and those caring for the millions of people suffering from memory impairment and wandering, which can be caused by Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism, Traumatic Brain Injury, or other cognitive memory disability. The patented GPS enabled “Smart” insoles fit easily into most adult shoes and monitor the whereabouts of loved ones who may tend to wander or be at risk of becoming disoriented and lost. Their location can be tracked through any smartphone, tablet, or web browser, set up text and email alerts if they leave or enter defined areas on a map.
The Trackimo has a comprehensive GPS tracker offering to include uses for vehicles, drones, pets, children and the elderly. Their primary device is currently the smallest on the market coming in at less than 1.5 ounces. Trackimo leverages smart alerts by SMS or email that can automatically message family members when their loved one leaves the “safe zone.” They also boast about battery life of up to 96 hours, which is quite impressive with the small size of the device. As of November of 2018, they are offering free GPS service for the first year before transitioning into a $5 per month fee, the lowest fee we are aware of. Although their primary device is the 3G Tracker, their other devices such as travel trackers, watches, and pet devices all have the same functionality in different forms and can be reviewed at their online store.
The Medical Guardian provides numerous options for families and seniors such as GPS trackers, medical alert devices, in-home devices, and personal emergency response systems. Their offerings also include fall detection and a 24/7 monitoring service that provides a comprehensive security offering. Their newest product, the Freedom Guardian resembles a modern-day smartwatch, which is much more discreet than other similar offerings but still easy to operate. Medical Guardian’s devices are consistently ranked highly in numerous online review sources such as Consumers Advocate, Reviews.com, Medical Alert Comparisons, and others.
Tycho Real-time Tracking SOS GPS Tracker Watch
The Tycho 3G GPS Watch is a new generation of GPS trackers designed for personal safety. Features include real-time tracking (GPS+WIFI+LBS multiple positioning modes), phone call and SOS calling (users can press SOS button to call family numbers for help in case of an emergency), historical route tracking , electronic geo-fence alarm, remote voice monitoring (listening in), alarm clock, voice chat, low-battery alarm, and more.
Before purchasing a GPS tracking device, make sure to receive permission from your aging loved one. Research the products above to find the right device. Go to https://www.alz.org for more resources.
About the Author
Long-time Sapulpa resident, Charles Betzler, followed his father, Charlie, into the radio and TV repair business. At age 9, he fixed his first broken radio and his first love is vintage audio equipment. In his 50 + years of technical work, graduation from OSUIT, and years of Continuing Education, Charles, in his capacity as Emergency Management Director of nearby city, designed the Emergency Operations Center, and the radio-activation system for the sirens. In his long career, he has repaired every type of consumer electronics from black-and-white TVs to the latest lap-top.