GPS Tracking Technology for Alzheimer’s Patients

21 Mar 2012

Anyone who has a loved one afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease understands the worry of a wandering incident.

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that causes its sufferer to become paranoid, confused, and have memory problems. Being confused about their surroundings, many patients wander around aimlessly, which can lead to life-threatening situations, such as walking into lanes of traffic. The Alzheimer’s patient may now know where they’ve wandered too, where they live, or even their name.

Approximately 60 percent of people inflicted with Alzheimer’s disease are prone to wander.  This is a concerning statistic for family members and caretakers of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, particularly if it’s impossible to keep a close eye on them every second of every day.

As the number of baby boomers approaching the age of 65 reaches the millions, the rate of Alzheimer’s sufferers is predicted to affect up to 16 million by 2050, according to the 2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report published by the Alzheimer’s Association.

Whether a family member or health care facility professional, caregivers of Altzheimer’s patients may soon breathe a sigh of relief however, thanks to GPS technology.

With the expected rise in the number of Alzheimer’s patients, real-time GPS tracking devices have become an essential tool for both family in-home caregivers and assisted living homes alike. Without a GPS tracking device, the task of finding a wandering Alzheimer’s patient is quite challenging.

Real-time GPS tracking devices for Alzheimer’s patients are available in a number of different forms today. For instance, they can be attached to a person’s clothing or worn as a piece of jewelry, like a watch or bracelet. GPS tracking devices for memory-challenged individuals can even be implemented in shoes. In this case, the GPS tracker is implanted directly into the heel of the shoe, giving the shoe a natural look and appearance.

These on-person GPS tracking devices can be used to track a patient for several miles, providing accurate, real-time patient location. Some devices offer the ability to alert the caregiver when a patient wanders out of range, while others can provide an alert if the Alzheimer’s patient falls.

In 2011, approximately 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and an estimated one in eight people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s.

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