We’ve known for a long time that GPS trackers can be very useful on the dementia journey, so we were heartened to see new research from the Alzheimer’s Society confirming this.

The research involved people with dementia, their families and the police and concluded that, overall, tracking devices were beneficial and may even safe lives, providing they are used properly and ethically.

This isn’t the first time GPS technology has been shown in a positive light. A recent Norwegian study also concluded these devices can enable people with dementia to be more independent whilst reducing anxiety amongst their family and friends. After all, you can’t always follow a loved one when they want to go out, but nor can you trust they will always be okay, particularly as their dementia progresses and they become more confused.

As increasing numbers of people with dementia continue living at home and value their independence, researcher also noted that GPS trackers were likely to be used more and more. If you need help choosing a tracker or location device, we have lots of information to guide you and ensure you chose one to fit your budget and lifestyle. Start by going here.

However, finding the right time to introduce your loved one to a tracker can be just as important as finding the right sort of tracker. The Alzheimer’s Society research found that the sooner trackers were introduced, the better.

Talking about trackers: 3 tips

  • Introduce the idea of a tracker as soon as possible, preferably when the person you care about is only mildly affected by dementia or memory loss and is able to appreciate the benefits a tracker could have on their daily life at some point in the future.
  • Explain carefully what the tracking device is and why it might be a good idea. For many people, it simply means increased freedom and independence - and less stress.
  • If they resist the idea, drop the subject and try again later. Be willing to repeat the conversation several times. The decision to use a tracker should, ideally, be theirs.

More ways to stay connected

If you can’t always be with the person you care about, new technologies mean that you can help them manage their lives from a distance. Here’s another two types of gadget to consider:

Day clocks
Day and calendar clocks can change lives, and there’s an increasing number of them to choose from. For example, some dementia day clocks don’t only display the date and time, they can also display reminder messages (such as ‘time to take your tablets’ or ‘don’t forget to eat lunch) so that important events or activities aren’t missed. Some of the newest clocks even allow you to send personal messages, photos and reminders from your smartphone or laptop that then appear instantly on the clock.

Interested? Take a look here:

Simple phones
A simple phone that’s easy to use in an emergency is another essential piece of kit for anyone with dementia who wants their independence but needs to stay in touch with others. Whether it’s a landline phone with big photo buttons, or an ultra-simple mobile with a special assistance button for emergencies. There’s even a mobile that also has a built in GPS tracker.

Interested? Take a look here:

Want to read more on this subject? Here’s another two articles you might find interesting:
Could simplified technology transform life for people with dementia?
Tracking devices and dementia: What you need to know