Keeping up with each other: GPS trackers
Another tool for independence
Maintaining maximum independence is a typical goal for our patients living with Mild Cognitive Impairment as well as those who love them. More and more, we find that our patients and their loved ones are interested in tracking systems they can use to support independence. Sometimes trackers are used for convenience (e.g. Is my loved one still at the grocery store?) and other times it is used for safety (ex. Where is my loved one, they should be back from their walk by now?). For example, Dr. Locke, director of our HABIT program in Arizona, uses "Find My Friends" on her smart phone with her husband, sisters, and her father. She finds it helpful to be able to quickly check in on everyone. Of course, this tool requires that everyone carries their cell phones with them--It doesn't work if the device is left at home!
Below are some other examples of products that are available to consumers to help with keeping track of each other. If you have a device you’ve used and recommend, please let us know in the comment section below. We would like to hear from you and learn from your experience. Mayo Clinic does not endorse any of these products/devices; these are examples of the types of tools out there. Please do your own research before purchasing a product. These products may also have a monthly fee attached to them.
GPS Apps (for use on smart phones):
- FamiSafe: This app provides real time GPS location, text monitoring, website blocking, driving safety report etc.
- mSpy: This app reports real time GPS location, monitor incoming and outgoing calls, monitor social media, monitor sent/received messages.
- Senior Safety App, GPS Tracker, Fall Alerts & More: This app monitors phone location and activity, has a GPS tracker with phone falling/fall alert, notifies you if the phone has been inactive for a long time or if there is a low battery.
- Wear smart watches such as: Fitbit, Apple, Garmin Forerunner, Samsung Galaxy Active, Fossil Sport to use the apps listed above.
- TrakTec iGPS watch This watch also has “Resort Bubble Zone” so a person can create a zone perimeter, with their invisible communications Geo-Fence Technology, and when the person wearing the device crosses the Geo-Fence line then all parties involved will be alerted.
- Smart Sole. This is a shoe insole with GPS tracker hidden and sealed within it. Simply insert the insole to shoes you already have.
- Tile tracker. This is not just for tracking people but the things people lose! People have attached these to keys, wallets, pet collars, car glove compartment, cell phones, etc--Anything you may lose and want to GPS find with your phone. There are several options available that vary in range (e.g. 400 ft). This range may not be long enough for everyone.
Medical Alert Systems
Many wearable Medical Alert systems also have GPS devices in their neck pendants, wristbands, or watches. The company monitors the GPS location of the person wearing the device in addition to providing emergency medical alert services.
Life Alert: (800)360-0329
Mobile Help: (800)915-8738
Medical Guardian: (800)311-6165
Again, we provide this information as another tool to promote freedom and independence in our patients and loved ones with memory impairment, while being sure they are safe and supported. Have you tried any of these services? Do you have any others to suggest?