How GPS Tracking Devices Keep Your Elderly Loved Ones Safe
Constantly worrying about your parents’ safety whenever you are not with them is completely understandable. You have every right to do so; they are your family after all. To shave off some of the worries, there are reliable GPS tracking devices that ensure security and safety of your older loved ones and are immensely helpful to families and caregivers who look after them.
Here’s what you need to know about the risks that seniors face and the benefits of ensuring elderly safety with GPS technology.
Most of the security risks seniors face happen at home and usually when they are left unattended. Here are the most common risks seniors face while at home.
Slips and falls
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, falls are the leading cause of injuries and deaths among elderly Americans. Since we can’t be there all the time to altogether eradicate the possibility of them falling, it is best that we equip them with the necessary tools to call for help the second something bad happens.
It is essential that seniors take the right dosage of their medicines on time. But this can be a difficult task for the elderly, especially when there’s no one to remind them. For this reason, medication management becomes one of the risks seniors face in-home. Overdosing on medicine is also a scary possibility.
Seniors are more prone to major security risks like crime, especially when they are left unattended at home. They are defenseless against thieves, fraudsters, and other criminals, which is why homes for the aged are required to have strong security locks in place.
Persons with frail health conditions and aged 65 and older are vulnerable to fire-related accidents. From 2009 to 2013 alone, the study of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) reveals that 32% (approximately 877) of fire-related deaths involved seniors.
Mental illness is one of the common risks seniors face. As they get even older, they are more likely to develop cognitive impairment, anxiety, and mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder. The United States Alzheimer’s Association states that late-life mental diseases mostly progress to severe dementia, which is one of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, an estimated 5.8 million Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer's disease in 2019. It's the 6th leading cause of death in the United States as 1 in 3 seniors dies from it, killing the elderly more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability, which includes memory loss and a decline in language and thinking skills, severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia, and people with this condition often get disoriented or lost even in familiar places.
Medical experts have suggested attaching a wearable GPS tracking device to seniors for real-time monitoring. Some models can be used 24/7 anywhere in the world and are built for emergency situations such as fire accidents, assault, or in the event of slips and falls. Monitoring the location of your elderly loved ones with the help of a GPS tracker allows you to keep an eye on them on a full-time basis.
When they’re driving
The privilege to drive is something that you cannot just take away from your parents. After all, it helps keep their mind active and it encourages independence. Many older adults even take it as an insult when their driving privileges are revoked.
Instead of telling them they’re not allowed to drive alone anymore, install a GPS tracker on their vehicle as an extra safety precaution in case they encounter problems on the road, road accidents, crimes, or get lost. Using the tracking device along with its web-based GPS tracking software, you will be able to monitor the elderly’s location at all times. The device can even provide essential information on speeding, sudden brakes, acceleration, and impact. You can also assure them that they can press the SOS button in case an emergency arises. This immediately alerts the authorities and important contacts about their location, ensuring quick assistance, and safety at the same time.
When they’re taking walks
Being able to walk around the neighborhood independently is something we all take pleasure in. However, this is not a safe activity for aging individuals as they could easily be a victim of a crime.
Wearing portable GPS tracking devices such as Trackimo allows senior citizens to do their routine walks without the fear knowing that they can ask for help in case of an emergency through the GPS device’s SOS button. Personal GPS trackers are tiny devices, are very easy to use, and can easily be carried. It could be worn by the elderly as a bracelet, watch, belt, or key chain.
When they’re forgetting things
Dementia is a progressive disease caused by the human brain’s natural decline as we continue to grow older. The elderly may soon find themselves unable to function as well as they did before, and it may lead to frustration and a feeling of loss for both the individual and their family. But perhaps the biggest challenge to overcome is the elderly person’s disoriented state of mind, which may result in dangerous activities such as wandering off on their own. Here are some symptoms of memory-related disorders:
- Misplacing many items very often, like forgetting where they have put the car keys or where the car is parked
- Recounting the same story over and over again to almost anyone who will listen
- Having problems with perception, remembering times, etc.
- Failing to follow directions
- Getting lost or disoriented even in a familiar neighborhood
- Forgetting common words
This is where elderly location devices come to play. With a GPS tracking device, these problems can be greatly reduced through smart alerts sent to family members the moment the wearer of the device leaves a specified safe area.
Mobile phones alone, although equipped with GPS tracking apps, are not recommended for elderly use. There’s a huge chance that the elderly user may misplace mobile phones since most of them become memory-impaired.
André Malm, a senior analyst at telecom industry Berg Insight, recommends wearable GPS devices such as a wristwatch, pendant, or keychain or a tiny GPS tracker instead as they can be attached to their clothing anywhere they go.
Here are the useful features of these tiny devices.
The biggest concern for those who are taking care of elders with memory-related illnesses is the patient’s tendency to get lost even in familiar places. With GPS trackers, families will be able to keep tabs on their elderly loved ones at risk. The device can help keep the elderly safe by providing real-time updates on their whereabouts. Whether they are on the road doing errands or just resting at home, the device can give you their exact location.
Safe zone alerts
GPS trackers are capable of tracking and recording every address your parents have gone to. Additionally, they let you set up a virtual fence around a particular area. The moment the wearer of the device steps out of the predefined safety zone, you’ll be immediately notified and informed of their location. In the event they are unable to find their way home, you will be able to find them instantly and lead them back.
GPS trackers have a convenient panic or SOS button proven to be useful in emergency situations. With this safety feature, it becomes easier for elderly loved ones to ask for help when necessary. Once pressed, the device will instantly send an alert message to you and the authorities, giving you directions to the location of the wearer. Some devices even provide two-way communication systems so the wearer can deliver a message directly to the watcher without delay.
Today, GPS trackers for seniors also come with added features such as wake-up calls and heart rate monitors. Many, if not all, also come with a feature that reminds our seniors when to take their medicine. Scientific pieces of evidence have it that on-time intake of medications prevents further harm to the body. Seniors tend to be very forgetful—that being just one of the conditions that come with old age. This unfortunate fact makes medical alert systems even more necessary.
GPS trackers have helped ease the worries of family members and caregivers who are taking care of the elderly suffering from serious memory conditions like dementia and other memory-related problems. Monitor their safety won’t be as difficult anymore as the device allows you to keep tabs on them even if you have to be far away from home. By simply using an internet-connected mobile device, you can view their movements in real time.
It’s time to set your worries aside. If you have elderly parents who are living alone, are left alone for most of the day, or are suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, it is high time to start ensuring your elders’ safety with GPS trackers.