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On The Move

By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer

(Page 4 of 5)

Technology Tracking

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 sight.

According to a GPS Tracking 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.

Be Prepared

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 24-hour supervision.”


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