What Type of Personal Tracking Devices are Available for Wandering?

6 answers | Last updated: Mar 05, 2018
A fellow caregiver asked...

My father lives in an assisted living home and he has managed to slip away from there on 2 occasions. The home has an alarm system so whenever anyone enters or leaves, a bell rings. I am trying to find a security anklet,bracelet,etc.or something more personal to help monitor where he is. I assume that there is a device like this somewhere. Do you have any info on this or something like this?

Expert Answers

Jytte Lokvig, PhD, coaches families and professional caregivers and designs life-enrichment programs and activities for patients with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia. Her workshops and seminars help caregivers and families create a healthy environment based on dignity and humor. She is the author of Alzheimer's A to Z: A Quick-Reference Guide.

You have raised two issues: the alarm system and a personal safety device. I'm assuming this particular facility is designed for people with cognitive disabilities that require a secure environment. There are a couple of ways to achieve this: A locked unit with a release button at a remote location or a very effective system where the residents wear special bracelets, which trigger a loud alarm whenever they get within six feet of the exit. The earsplitting alarm will keep going until a code has been punched into the keypad to deactivate it.

If you're looking for a personal safety device, your best bet is the Safe Return program at the Alzheimer's Association. Go to: http://www.alz.org/safetycenter/we_can_help_safety_medicalert_safereturn.asp

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

Here is a web site that offers cell phone tracking for $9.99 per month. You do have to be online to determine what location the phone is at. http://www.comfortzonecheckin.com/HowItWorks.aspx Hope this helps.

Bejar answered...

i am a caregiver for my mom for 5 yrs. She was diagnosed with moderate alzheimer. I never thought

she would wander off, but she did when she spent an overnite at my brothers home. I was going to get 3 days off, I got the call the next morning mom was gone, That was horrible. An all out search was put into action police, helicopter search dogs, she was lost for 30 hours, thank God nothing happened to her she found an empty house to sleep, When she was brought back to us, she said I was not lost.

Police has a bracelet called Project life saver! It has a transmitter frequency they say is better.

I hope this helps you, because I never thought it would happen. by RR

Jytte lokvig answered...

Bejar. You've brought up another issue. It's great that your brother wants to give you much needed respite. Apparently your Mom did not feel at home at your brother's, so she decided to "go home" - back to your house. Once a person is in a more advanced stage of the disease, it's not a good idea to take her for overnight visits to strange places. The upset that she may be experiencing as a result may cause a sharp decline in her condition.

Your brother needs to continue to relieve you. However, next time he should stay at your house to let your mom stay in the sanctuary that she's comfortable with.

Also, for your information: Project Lifesaver is an excellent program and hopefully it will become universal. Unfortunately, it's not yet available nationwide. Safe Return is national and doesn't depend on the availability of local first responders. Cell-phone tracking is good for people earlier in the disease, but those at more advanced stages may lose anything that's not physically attached to the person. I still recommend a Medicalert bracelet even if you subscribe to Safe Return or another tracking program

Bob nathanial answered...

Hello! I saw this GPS wristwatch called Keruve. It also comes with a handheld device which is used for locating the watch. The website is pretty straightforward, www.keruve.com. It looks like a great solution if it´s the kind of system you´re looking for. I guess in the end it all depends on your needs. Cheers!

A fellow caregiver answered...

My Dad has dimensia and last June went missing for 7 1/2 hours. He took a bad fall down a ravine and was in ICU for three days. We cannot stop his desire to wander. I spent many days researching tracking devices. We purchased the Keruve watch. It was very expensive but we can hit a button on our computer or smart phone and track him. The locating gps is EXACT.

Here are the cons: The watch has, what we feel, a faulty construction design. The watch face is held to the band as most watches, with two pins at the watch face. The band also has two pins connecting it to the gps unit on the under side of the band. My 88 year old Dad has pulled hard enough on the band to break those pins loose and take the watch off....multiple times. At the suggestion of the Keruve representative we have had the pins replaced and glued in multiple times. The watch does not keep time.....back to watch repair shop for new battery...still does not keep time. Each time we have had a problem we have contacted the representative and been told he would contact the company and get back to us. He has not.

The watch location is the best you can get....but will do no good if you cannot keep it on the body. For a woman with little strength this would be great but an agitated adult can break the pins and pull it off.