What Type of Personal Tracking Devices are Available for Wandering?

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 Answer

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