By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer
A caregiver must make sure their loved one has
identification on them at all times. Often, police
or community residents find a wanderer and can
easily help by first establishing identity.
However, people with dementia misplace things
very easily, including license and ID cards, so
today’s technology is aiding caregivers with an
extra layer of security for their loved one. The
options are growing fast.
One of these options, GPS tracking, is a top
competitor for wander solutions. Many companies have
developed their version of “person” tracking
devices. Some are bracelets, wristbands, and
necklace pendants a loved one can wear with
assurance they will never be completely out of
According to a GPS Tracking blog
(www.rmtracking.com/blog), GPS tracking works by
sending a signal from the transmitter a loved one is
wearing to a home computer or receiving device. A
caregiver can log on at any time to check on the
whereabouts of their loved one, and even view a
report of their activities throughout the day.
Some devices are also equipped with an alert
button so that if the person with dementia becomes
disoriented, they can press a button which sends a
message to their caregiver via phone or email. Other
devices allow caregivers to establish physical
perimeters, alerting them if their loved one
ventures beyond. The U.S. federal government
has even stepped up to offer assistance for
dementia-based location initiatives. The program
works with local law enforcement, establishing
response teams who are notified once a person with
dementia has gone missing. These teams are trained
specifically to help guide the person home, using
state-of-the-art technology and also special
communication skills, knowing how to approach them
and earn their trust.
Other technology solutions involve in-home camera
monitoring and just released, cell phone tracking
devices which are linked to 911 emergency response
systems. Resources are available to caregivers; it
is just a matter of determining which technology is
best suited for their loved one’s lifestyle.
Safety is always a caregiver’s number one
priority and freedom is their loved one’s goal. It
may take a village to raise a child, and many
caregivers would agree it takes the same to keep a
loved one with dementia safe.
From doctors prescribing medications to neighbors
being on the look-out, resources are available.
Rowe says a caregiver should not be embarrassed to
ask for help, and that “persons with dementia wander
even when the caregiver has done everything humanly
possible to provide excellent care and prevent this
from occurring. It is not possible to provide