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Does anyone employ a GPS tracking device on your loved one in case of wandering? What’s the best device?

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We have Mobile Care Unit - AT&T GPS, 2-way mobile PERS, water resistant, 36-hour life, charges in 4 hours and you could take it anywhere go you. Comes with a lanyard and has a build in fall senor.
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I used a TrackR for my husband; There is a "slim" TrackR that I put in his wallet. I was able to find him in the grocery store. When he stayed at home when I was at work, the TrackR registered his location properly. The only problem is that he would occasionally find it in his wallet and take it out and remove the batteries...trying to figure out what the device was.

When he was home alone, I used Nest cameras to keep an eye on him. I have the cameras set to notify me when there is movement, sound, and a person. When he would start moving around, my phone would start dinging, so I could open the App and see what he was doing. I was able to talk to him from any camera and he would answer me. I had to tell him I was talking to him from the camera on the refrigerator...fireplace mantle...bedroom dresser...etc, and he would talk to me. While sitting at my desk, I put my cellphone a stand and left the Nest open so I could keep an eye on him when he was awake. I was able to give him directions about what to eat in the refrigerator...I had it prepared and sitting in the front. I was also able to direct him to the microwave and instruct him which buttons to choose. When he would get stuck trying to use the TV remote, I could instruct him what button to choose to get straightened out. I also told my neighbors that he was home alone, so if they see him outside, please call me. My husband was using a walker, so I didn't think he would get far.

Unfortunately, he has deteriorated and I am not comfortable leaving him alone at this time. I take him to work with me (family owned business) and he sits in a recliner in my office and plays solitary on his computer and watches a DVD (I use the same ones over and over because he never remembers watching them) or I log onto Netflix and find something for him. I can also log onto Spectrum and find programs for him.

I hope one of these suggestions will work for you.
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A friend's husband suffered from Alzheimers. One night, despite multiple locks on doors, he got outside in subzero weather, fell down the porch stairs and hit his head....She was asleep inside and didn't hear a thing. The neighbor had let his 2 dogs out and they began barking furiously...the neighbor came out and found my friend's husband, brought him in and woke my friend. 911 was called and they checked him out at the hospital and he was ok. Had it not been for the dogs this man would have surely frozen to death. Not everyone has dogs so I am all for some sort of alarm system so people don't get out and wander during the night.....This story, luckily had a happy ending.
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Hi. My dad wouldn't carry a cell phone. Verizon has the "Gizmo" which is kind of a large watch with a tracker in it that will give approximate location when you search. He will wear it because it is a watch. It also has a phone function and limited text function that can contact as many caregivers as you want to put in it so multiple people can track and respond to calls or texts. He doesn't use these. The down side is that if you lose him in Lowe's, or a shopping center with multiple shops, it won't track him exactly. We tried the "Pocketfinder" which we purchased from Amazon, but it doesn't work if someone gets in a car, or if they don't "bounce" enough when they walk. When it works, it locates exactly. It is motion activated, and now we are in trouble with CA Adult Protective services because we had to call the police a couple of times to find him because the Pocketfinder wouldn't work. So dad wears the Gizmo and we rely on it, but we put his house key on the Pocketfinder because when it does work, it is useful for better localizing. Good luck. We actually have a dog trainer looking for an appropriate service dog who can be trained to bring him home after his walks. If you look online there are posts about such dogs, but none of the national service dog organizations responded when I sent messages asking.
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I had to come back - because after this, I was watching TV and they have a children's GPS watch that also counts steps! So you could get the watch for your LO and tell them it is a watch pedometer!

How cool is that?!
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I will be 65 years old in September and I carry a Smart Phone with me. My phone has the GPS tracking app, and it comes in handy when I'm in a strange place. Haven't gotten lost yet
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I put a gps device in mom’s car called Trax. I plug it into her cigarette lighter (to keep it charged up) with a converter for USB. And the device is hidden in a cubby hole on her dash that she never opens. It triggers an app on my phone and I can follow her to see where she is. You have to purchase the gps signal separately, I bought a years worth. traxfamily.com
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Costco has a program for tracking loved ones. Also most of the cell phone companies have a program (at a cost) that you can track someone if they will carry a phone. My husband carries a phone but recently threw it on the floor at the Adult Day Center. Hooray it sill works to track him. Hopefully he won't do this again.
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We are not at a stage to need these yet but are researching so we also have this question. Appreciate the question and everyone's answers.
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My parents still carry their cell phones and I use Life360 to track when them via GPS. I get a text alert when they leave their home and when they arrive. They usually leave together and so if one forgets a cell phone the other has one. If I notice the alert that they left the house, I can watch where they go in real time. My mom frequently gets lost driving and I have occasionally called her when she was in an area I'm not familiar with. She usually responds, "Oh I forget that you track me."

If I miss the leave alert and only notice the arrive alert, I can replay their trip from GPS and see exactly where they went, how long they were at any destination and even how fast they drove. This has been very helpful for me.
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Some nursing homes have ankle bracelets on their residents that cannot be easily removed. The one my father wore automatically locked the outside door if the resident got too close to it, preventing him from wandering outside and becoming lost. I'm sure something similar is available for home use.

If the person's cognitive status is such that they are unable to understand "how" to use a pendant with a "life alert" type of device, then they need a passive device that is permanently affixed to their wrist or their ankle - kind of like a permanent medical alert bracelet.
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There is a device called “The Tile” that is affordable and can be paired with your phone. It’s made for tracking misplaced items but could be used on a person as well if they willingly will wear it or they carry keys wherever they go. It’s small and can be attached to key rings, dog leashes, placed in a wallet or wherever. I don’t believe it’s waterproof though.
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After learning about a neighbor wandering with Alzheimers the hard way - we found her and had no idea because no one had told us.

Now I have told my neighbors that if they ever see Ray out walking alone, please either bring him home or call me to come and get him.

No shame in getting the neighbors involved.
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Since I'm a techie, I'm in process of moving to technology based solution when leaving my mother with short term memory problems and spinal stenosis alone in my home while I'm working - a security system with cameras and a "ring" doorbell. The ring doorbell lights up my smart phone with video from the front door whenever someone rings the doorbell or sets off it's motion detector - I can even have an "intercom" discussion with the person (Mom doesn't like to answer the door). The security system sends a text message when certain doors open (like her bedroom) and I can use the security camera to view the open plan kitchen, living and dining room where she likes to spend her day. Together with a jitterbug flip cell phone (which my mother absolutely LOVES) and a daily check list, I think this is going to work. I can check the camera feed and "see" Mom is reading, watching TV, talking on the phone or taking a nap in the main room without bothering her. I leave before Mom wakes up but the monitor on the bedroom door tells me when she has left her bedroom so I can give her a call few minutes later and check in. I have installed panic buttons with a HELP label on them throughout the house along with an loud external siren. I can call a nearby family member or neighbor if Mom needs help or additional checking on. Mom's checklist is a printed document with check boxes for breakfast and coffee, take morning meds, reheat your lunch for 90 seconds, take stick and phone on walk, call Techie before your walk, call Techie after your walk. The jitterbug phone offers a service that lets you track phone use and location.

When you open the Jitterbug flip phone you hear a traditional dial tone, the phone's number is displayed and the menu is on PHONE BOOK with a SELECT? prompt; press YES and the first entry in the phone book is displayed along with a CALL? prompt - press YES to call that person or press down arrow to list the next entry in the phone book. Pressing NO or closing the flip ends a call.

My mother has MCI but no dementia and is still very functional, still capable of all ADLs, and cooperative. She has good mobility but is sometimes stiff and unsteady when she first stands. She can cook but the short term memory issues means she needs to check off ingredients and use a timer for cooking times. We have agreed she will not use the stove when I'm not at home and I turn the breaker off when the stove is not in use just in case she forgets. I have a sign inside the front door "take your stick and cell phone" and she rarely leaves the house without both.

Some of this might be useful for someone with dementia, at least in the early to mid stages. My experiences with my uncooperative father with dementia is that some of this wouldn't have worked at all with him, particularly if he knew about it. He didn't like the basic security system I had installed in my parent's home years ago (primarily for the smoke detectors and to alert my mother if he left the house during the night). He would unplug the base from the power outlet, I would get the notification and call my mother to plug it back up. If I had wanted to use a security camera with my father, I would not have told him it was there.
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The County I live in has a program through the Mental Health Board called CareTrak. It is a device that sort of looks like a watch and it is fitted to the persons wrist and it has an RFID chip in it. I was told that was easier to track than a GPS. As part of the program they take a photo of the person get all their details, age, height distinguishing character markings or other things that will make the person easy to identify. When the person goes missing you call 911 tell them the person is on the program and the police set up what looks like a "command post" by the house and an officer goes around in a vehicle with an antenna that will track the RFID.
The requirement is the person HAS to be under 24 hour supervision so something like this would not work if there is no one caregiver living with the person or if the other people in the house work, go to school or for some reason are not able to watch 24/7.

Some things that might work.
There is a device that you can fit on a dogs collar that you can set a particular range and if the dogs wanders out of that area an alert will be sent to your phone. This same thing might possibly work if it were attached to a piece of clothing or again fitted on the wrist. Best thing is as far as I can tell there is no monthly fee that is paid.

There are tracking devices that are intended for people with Alzheimer's, Dementia, Autism and other conditions where wandering is a possibility but they have a monthly fee that is paid. 

If this person carries a cell phone there may be a way to track the phone.  Would not work if they forget the phone, it is not charged or it is lost. 

The important thing that you do until you do find a device that will work is contact the Police Department and explain the situation so if this person does wander they will take action right away. They also may have a couple of ideas for you as well. This is how I found out about the program in my area.
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Windyridge is right. I found this out the hard way. 24/7/365
supervision and attendance. Now I have even had alarms installed that will wake up the neighborhood if my husband opens an outside door in our home.
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Like Windyridge said, getting them to wear it. I got my mom a "life alert" system. She would forget she had it and not wear it. Fell and was on the floor for hours (over 8, while I was at work) and when I asked her about her life alert, it was on her dresser and she didn't even know what it was for. I moved her into AL after that. I didn't know they had GPS that could be used as a personal device. When mom was still alive, we didn't even have cell phones.
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If they use a cellphone you can location share and track them that way.
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I used a gps device on my dads car. I know there are personal devices out there but have never used them.

I think the problem with all this stuff is getting elders to wear it, not lose devices etc. my mom had a call pendant but would never use it for assistance and she kept having falls.

Also, when an elder begins to wander the tech stuff is not the ultimate solution. You have to think about 24/7 supervision at that point.
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I think there is one that goes inside the shoes. That sounds like a good one because your loved one would not know it is there. The downside is you have to charge the battery everynight.
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It truly depends on the person and whether they can be trusted to wear it. My mom had ankle monitors and kept cutting them off. Somehow she found a way even though I had removed all scissors from her room. Third time was the charm. I don’t know why, but for some reason she never tried to remove the third one. Go figure.
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I believe that Windyridge used one. I just P'M'ed him.
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