Keeping up with each other: GPS trackers

Mar 2 8:00am | Andrea Cuc | @AndreaCuc | Comments (3)

 

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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.

GPS Wearables/Devices:

  • 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

LifeStation:  (855)727-6797

 

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?

 

 

 

I use Ring door sensors and cameras integrated with Alexa to monitor and turn things on.I would say as a caregiver they are more for me than for him. The door sensors trigger a sound on my Alexa Echo device in the bedroom at night so I know if Bob gets up in the night and accidently goes outside. This works better than the whole house alarm going off which is very loud, disturbing, has to be disarmed to make it stop, and freaks him out. Sometimes he gets lost finding his way to the bathroom or back to bed. I am sound sleeper so I was not sleeping well because I was afraid to go to sleep and wake up and find him gone. During the day the door sensors also tell me on my phone and on Echo devices in the house if he has gone outside and when he goes back inside.

Again it helps me know if he has wandered off.He hasn't done that yet, but it provides peace of mind to me when I am gone. I have outdoor cameras so I can also check to see what he is doing and that he is still around. I also have a door sensor on the refrigerator to remind him to close it. Otherwise I have found it open for long periods of time. I have indoor cameras with motion sensors. I use these with Alexa to turn on the TV to his favorite program on the couple of mornings when I am gone golfing early.

Golfing is one of the things I do for myself as a caregiver. It provides exercise and socialization for me. He can turn on the TV himself anymore. He is usually still asleep when I leave. So this way he has something to keep
him occupied until I get home. He can also use voice commands with our Fire TV to change the channel, find shows etc. but he isn't very good at this.

 The motion sensor integrates with Alexa and I have it tell him where I have gone and when I will be back. I have it set to repeat this once an hour while I am gone because he forgets quickly. It keeps him calmer while I gone. I can also view the cameras throughout the house on phone when I am gone just to check if he seems confused or frustrated looking for something etc. I can either come home if I think it is significant, talk to him through the cameras, or call and reassure him or help him with what he might be looking for or trying to do.

Some might view this as invasion of his privacy but it really helps me be a better caregiver by allowing me to worry less when I am out and about which I have learned is essential to being a better caregiver. If I am in a better mood so is he. I have many reminders for him on Alexa as well. It is nice because you can have it speak a phase and show it in writing on Echo Show. If its just a beep of something he would have no idea what to do. I also use Find My Friends on his phone and make sure he has his phone in his pocket, which is a HABIT he has. It allows him to walk the dog around the block. He usually does pretty well finding his way home but I have used it a couple time to go find him.

We live in a quiet retirement community in Tucson so it is safe and I monitor it while he is gone to make sure he doesn't get too far off track. I also use this when we go shopping or out and about so I can find him in the store if I lose track of him. 

REPLY
@lstegink

I use Ring door sensors and cameras integrated with Alexa to monitor and turn things on.I would say as a caregiver they are more for me than for him. The door sensors trigger a sound on my Alexa Echo device in the bedroom at night so I know if Bob gets up in the night and accidently goes outside. This works better than the whole house alarm going off which is very loud, disturbing, has to be disarmed to make it stop, and freaks him out. Sometimes he gets lost finding his way to the bathroom or back to bed. I am sound sleeper so I was not sleeping well because I was afraid to go to sleep and wake up and find him gone. During the day the door sensors also tell me on my phone and on Echo devices in the house if he has gone outside and when he goes back inside.

Again it helps me know if he has wandered off.He hasn't done that yet, but it provides peace of mind to me when I am gone. I have outdoor cameras so I can also check to see what he is doing and that he is still around. I also have a door sensor on the refrigerator to remind him to close it. Otherwise I have found it open for long periods of time. I have indoor cameras with motion sensors. I use these with Alexa to turn on the TV to his favorite program on the couple of mornings when I am gone golfing early.

Golfing is one of the things I do for myself as a caregiver. It provides exercise and socialization for me. He can turn on the TV himself anymore. He is usually still asleep when I leave. So this way he has something to keep
him occupied until I get home. He can also use voice commands with our Fire TV to change the channel, find shows etc. but he isn't very good at this.

 The motion sensor integrates with Alexa and I have it tell him where I have gone and when I will be back. I have it set to repeat this once an hour while I am gone because he forgets quickly. It keeps him calmer while I gone. I can also view the cameras throughout the house on phone when I am gone just to check if he seems confused or frustrated looking for something etc. I can either come home if I think it is significant, talk to him through the cameras, or call and reassure him or help him with what he might be looking for or trying to do.

Some might view this as invasion of his privacy but it really helps me be a better caregiver by allowing me to worry less when I am out and about which I have learned is essential to being a better caregiver. If I am in a better mood so is he. I have many reminders for him on Alexa as well. It is nice because you can have it speak a phase and show it in writing on Echo Show. If its just a beep of something he would have no idea what to do. I also use Find My Friends on his phone and make sure he has his phone in his pocket, which is a HABIT he has. It allows him to walk the dog around the block. He usually does pretty well finding his way home but I have used it a couple time to go find him.

We live in a quiet retirement community in Tucson so it is safe and I monitor it while he is gone to make sure he doesn't get too far off track. I also use this when we go shopping or out and about so I can find him in the store if I lose track of him. 

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@lstegink, what a wonderfully detailed account of your use of technology to support both you and your husband. Were you always tech savvy or is this something you've embraced and learned out of necessity? It sounds like you're not afraid to try new things.

REPLY

I'm an engineer so very tech savvy.

REPLY
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