GPS Trackers for the Elderly
As our loved ones get older, issues may arise when it comes to memory loss and wandering off. For those who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s, becoming disoriented and wandering off is a cause for concern. This type of behavior can be dangerous, especially when family members get lost.
While you may not be able to physically keep an eye on a loved one at all hours of the day, you can know where they are at all times with the help of a GPS tracker.
What are GPS Trackers for the Elderly?
As you may know, GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It’s comprised of dedicated satellite systems that are used to track the location of any GPS receivers and transmitters in the world.
You may be familiar with using a GPS in your car when you don’t know how to get to a certain location. Just as the GPS knows where your car is and how to get it to its destination, it can also track an elderly family member and let you know where they are if they’ve wandered off somewhere.
Benefits of GPS Trackers for the Elderly
If a GPS tracking device is attached to someone at risk of wandering off, a family member can use their smartphone or computer to find that person’s location at any time.
The GPS tracker can also be set to give an alert when someone goes beyond a designated area. This allows seniors, even those with memory problems, to still take walks and be as active as they can be without going too far. When the alert goes off, family members know their loved one has gone beyond the boundaries and may have wandered off. GPS trackers are proactive because they let people know if someone may have wandered off right away, not hours later when that person goes missing and could be in danger.
This not only helps those at risk for wandering off, but also gives more active seniors the freedom to be independent without worrying family members. Having the ability to check on a loved one’s whereabouts at any time gives family members peace of mind.
While many GPS trackers are worn and are visible, there are even those that can be inserted into the sole of a shoe. This provides even more assurance that you will know where your loved one is at any given time because of the GPS tracker’s location.
Whether the GPS tracker is worn or carried by someone in a bag, it will still work. Many systems allow for an alert to be set off if someone leaves the house or hasn’t moved for an extended period of time. Many GPS trackers are also equipped with an emergency button that can be pressed if something is wrong. This transmits a signal to 911 and to family members on an emergency call list.
Availability & Cost of GPS Trackers for the Elderly
Since more and more people are seeing the value in GPS trackers for the elderly, they have become more widely available.
The best place to find a GPS tracker is online. Through Amazon and other sites you will find everything from GPS watches to devices that can be inserted into the sole of a shoe. You can decide which type of device is best suited for your loved one.
If you’re afraid your loved one may forget to wear a device or may not want to put it on, perhaps one that is inserted in the sole of the shoe is a better choice. This type of GPS tracker will cost you $100-300 dollars, depending on the model you choose. No matter which model you decide on buying, you will also have to pay a monthly fee to keep the GPS service in place. This can cost anywhere from $15-35 dollars a month depending on the type of service you choose.
The monthly charge is in play for many other types of GPS trackers as well. Think of it as a monthly cell phone bill. The GPS tracker is a device just like your phone, but will not work unless you are paying for the service to connect it.
Other types of GPS trackers don’t require a monthly service, but likely do not offer as many bells and whistles. These types of GPS trackers may only cost you under $100 dollars. Remember, you get what you pay for. If you’re looking for a GPS tracker that can also serve as a medical alert, you won’t find this without a monthly fee. It is also very unlikely you will find this for fewer than $100 dollars.
Will Insurance Cover a GPS Tracker?
Medicare does not cover GPS trackers for the elderly. Private insurance companies will also likely not cover them either. Although you may view it has a piece of safety equipment for your loved one, such as a shower chair, many insurance companies will still not pay for a GPS tracker.
While many caregivers love the idea of a GPS tracker, be sure to discuss it with your loved one before buying one. There are some seniors who may see a GPS tracker as an invasion of privacy even though it is being used in the name of safety. Others will enjoy the fact that they can still have their freedom without having to constantly check-in with a loved one.