Have any caregivers of Alzheimer's patients used GPS shoes?

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I have been trying to get a pair of GPS shoes to help my mother in Stage 6, who has wandered somewhat.

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I don't think a wandering situation is punishable by law, unless there is evidence of severe and total neglect (at least in my state). If a caregiver does their due diligence to try to prevent wandering, then that is enough the caregiver can do. You can't always prevent wandering, no matter what you do. People with dementia can be VERY smart and resourceful if they are exit-seeking. They are sometimes still very physically healthy and can get pretty far very quickly. They often don't *look* a certain way, and can fool people into giving them rides, getting on buses, just looking like a person going for a walk, etc. They can even get out of locked dementia units- and not always due to staff neglect. For instance, about a year ago in my area, a gentleman disappeared from a local memory care facility- they discovered that he'd scaled the fence in the fenced-in, secure yard.
I would recommend a bracelet or anklet-type of tracking system, rather than the GPS shoes (as they might put on a different pair or might wander barefoot). Call your local police or sherriff's dept. to see if they use a tracking system.
You can also try door alarms to alert you when the door is being opened, or putting door locks up at the top of the door, out of mom's reach. Of course, this may be a fire hazard- but there are always risks, huh? You can also try camoflaging doors- in locked memory care units, they often disguise the doors with a type of decal/wallpaper that looks like a bookcase, so the person with dementia can't tell it's an actual door. If the door has a window, you could cover the window with a cling stained-glass decal to disguise that as well. Or try the dark mat idea- sounds brilliant!
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In 1970, in my condo association, a retired school teacher had her elderly mother living with her. Unbeknownst to all of us until after the tragedy, the mother had some form of dementia, probably Alz, but it wasn't well known back then. One night, Sally dozed off, hadn't locked the door by mistake, her mom "escaped", walked across the street, tripped and fell, was knocked unconscious and drownedinto inches of gutter water.

Fast forward to 1992, my dad had severe memory problems but as yet undiagnosed Alzheimer's. My mom still allowed him to take long day time walks because it helped him physically as he would stiffen up if he said around too long. He was 6'3" & mom was 5'4". It was hard to get him to cooperate is he didn't want to do something; he was just too big and too strong for her. One winter evening after dark (and we live for it gets cold), he got up from the den heading to the other part of the house as if to go to the bathroom. When he didn't return, my mom discovered he was no longer in the house. He had used the security keys, got out the front door and was nowhere to be seen. Frantic, my mom got in her van and started looking for him. She found him walking along a very busy freeway frontage road, hi speed vehicles and no sidewalks, over a mile from the house. She pulled over to try to get him in the car, but he fought her, NO!, he was "going home" (to Hollywood, where he hadn't lived since he was 28 - and was now 77). Fortunately, a male neighbor of equal size caught sight of what was happening, stopped, and help my mom get him in the car and back home. That was the last time the keys to the front security door we're left a vailable to my dad.

Dementia patients that are prone to wander cannot be allowed to do so in the first place! Whatever it takes, they must be kept in a safe and secure environment.
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I've read that placing a dark colored door mat at the exits can be a deterrent. The idea is that the loved one will not want to cross this "chasm" and may lose interest in leaving the house. Also, rendering the current door knob non-functional and adding a new knob at a higher or lower location on the door has also been suggested.
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Ferris-
That is my concern also. Who knows if they will even put the shoes on and I've only seen one style an athletic type shoe. We have a charm/id bracelet with all pertinent information on that has stayed on mom's wrist for more than a year now. It is very difficult to take off and if we needed to, could probably change the clasp so it would not be able to be removed.

Most sheriff's departments have ankle bracelets with the GPS in them. It is probably the same device that they put on law breakers that are under house arrest, or some other program that allows them to work. I also like the alarm on door idea to alert caregiver that someone is leaving the house. It may serve a dual purpose that the alarm would eventually discourage them from opening doors because of the noise that results. Probably, the more obnoxious the alarm the better. I have also heard of alarms that do not emit sound, but instead flash lights or whatever to get caregivers attention. I would think that locking them in their bedroom could be considered elder abuse. There is no question they need non-stop monitoring. I did not think that there were laws requiring caregivers to prevent wandering. In some cases, it just happens when nobody is aware.
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I have never heard of GPS shoes, and the dementia patient would have to be wearing those shoes to be tracked, unless you want to buy all shoes with GPS (rather expensive I would think). I suggest putting her name, address and phone number sewn in or glued into her clothing. It is much cheaper and besides the necklace or bracelet (which she can go off without), clothing tends to stay on wandering loved ones. Install alarms on the doors, and really watch her. If she is wandering while you sleep, again, either lock her in or have another way of preventing her to wander. This is a criminal offense to allow a person in your care to wander when you knew she has dementia and you did little to prevent it. Don't let her out of your sight if you value her safety!
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What a great idea! We have a tracking device which Mom (95 with dementia) wears on her ankle. It's loaned by the local Sheriff's Office but the range is only 1-1/2 miles and someone has to come to the house every other month to change the battery. We'll be checking out the GPS devices. Thanks for bringing this up.
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You can also get a bracelet if the shoes aren't working. I haven't used either, so have no idea how good they are. But if you Google Alzheimers GPS you'll find info on bracelets that come up (and can't be removed by the person).
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