The AgingCare.com forum is filled with people coming together to share valuable information. We’ve compiled experienced caregivers’ best suggestions for devices and programs to help locate and identify dementia patients who wander.

Location Devices and Identification for Wanderers

“My mom has dementia and key-only locks are necessary for us. I wear the key on a lanyard around my neck. As a back up in case I forget to lock something, Mom has been equipped with a tracking device that is fastened to her ankle. Luckily, she accommodates this. The equipment was loaned to us by our local Sheriff’s Office in St. Johns County, Florida. It is called ‘Safe Trak.’ A woman came to our house to affix the device, and she also comes when the battery needs changing. Meanwhile, I check the battery on a daily basis. If Mom goes missing, the Sheriff’s office has her in the computer system along with photographs, and they go looking for her. I think the tracking range is a mile and a half. This has been a great help to my peace of mind.” –Gigi11

“Keep in mind that tracking devices are not preventative solutions. They do not prevent anyone from wandering; they just help locate the wanderer. They may be very awesome and useful, but they do NOT prevent wandering before it happens.” –Jeannegibbs

“You can get a bracelet with your loved one’s name, address and your phone number on it. Just make sure you get the kind with a complicated clasp so they can’t take it off. You never know when wandering may start. All you can do is prepare for that day and have a plan in place.” –Eyerishlass

“If your loved one balks at wearing an ID tag or bracelet, you can buy a version that looks like a ‘dog tag’ to wear around the neck. A male patient may be more willing to wear something that looks like army-issue dog tags!” –4thdaughter

“There is a shoe with a GPS chip in it on the market so you can track a loved one’s whereabouts. It was specially designed for dementia patients in long-term care who are fond of wandering.” –Karenlorenzo

“If you can get your loved one to carry a cell phone, most have tracking capabilities. For example, Verizon calls their feature ‘Family Locator.’ ” –Pamstegma

“Get your loved one a silver alert bracelet. My local police department uses a silver alert program to help identify wandering seniors. Check with the police and they will have you fill out information on your loved one. They will send you the bracelet with a special ID number on it that police can use to identify them and then contact you.” –TonyRovere

“Since the tracking device we use is for a dog, we had to get Dad used to carrying it in his pocket. (It’s made to slip onto a leash). It has become part of his daily uniform: wallet, keys, glasses and tracker. If he leaves the designated area we have set, I will get an alert on my phone. That can take up to 12 minutes (all of these GPS systems have a satellite cycle of various time periods), but at any time I can tap a locate button and it will tell me where he is. I can either tap it at will or set it to beep me his location every 30 minutes. I think the device was around $129, and we pay about $9 or $10 per month.” –Lorey9

“Another option for identification just in case would be to put labels with crucial information inside a loved one’s clothing, like on the collars of shirts or inside pants waistbands where the normal labels are. Of course, not everyone would think to look there, but it could help.” –Wolflover451

Read: Wandering Top Tips: Medications to Minimize Dementia Behaviors