By Greg Bartlett
Families across America struggle with decisions regarding care for elderly loved ones, especially when those loved ones have dementia. Watching a parent’s mind grow dim is a heartbreaking process. It’s important that families take necessary measures to ensure safety for these loved ones, however, since dementia patients are prone to wandering and easily getting lost. One way to make sure you always know where your loved one has gone is to purchase a GPS tracking personal safety device. The devices can be worn as a bracelet or necklace or carried in a pocket or purse.
GPS tracking works by sending a signal from the transmitter to a home computer or receiving device. You can log on at any time to check on the whereabouts of your loved one or you can view a report of their activities throughout the day. Some devices are also equipped with an alert button so that if Mom becomes disoriented, she can press the button which will then send a message to your phone or email letting you know where she is and that she needs help. Some will also allow you to set up perimeter boundaries so that if the person wearing the tracking device steps out of the designated area, you will be alerted immediately.
Some states are considering legislation requiring all dementia patients to wear GPS tracking bracelets in order to protect them from harm. While concerns have been expressed about privacy issues, the underlying idea is a good one—GPS tracking can protect the elderly from becoming another statistic in the missing persons file. Whatever your views on mandatory tracking devices, you can take advantage of the technology for your own family by equipping your elderly mom or dad with a personal safety device. In this way you can put your mind at rest regarding Mom or Dad being home alone while you’re at work. You’ll know immediately whether a longer than usual walk means a stop at the neighbor’s down the street, or whether assistance is needed.
GPS tracking provides peace of mind for you and a safety net for the elderly loved one in your life. It may allow Mom or Dad some extra time at home without constant monitoring so that they can continue to feel a measure of independence. The investment is well worth the knowledge that you have done all you can to ensure their safety.