It’s a startling statistic. According to The Alzheimer’s Association, six in 10 people with dementia will wander. A person with Alzheimer’s can even become confused, often forgetting his or her own name or address—even in familiar places.
We see examples of this happening in real life more often than not in the media. For example, just a few days ago, the body of a missing elderly woman was found in a ditch near some railroad tracks, according to WTVG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Toledo, Ohio. Authorities say the 84-year-old woman suffered from dementia. She was originally reported missing from a nursing home.
In Long Island, New York authorities recently located the body of a missing 82-year-old woman without a GPS tracking device. In a report by WABC-TV the elderly lady’s body was found several miles from her home, deep in a rugged terrain. She was last seen alive walking her dog. Like the previous story before, she also suffered from dementia.
Medical Alert Systems with GPS Offer A Proactive Step
Many medical experts will tell you that wandering and getting lost is not only a common problem among people living with dementia or Alzheimer’s, but it can also be dangerous and even deadly. What’s more alarming is seniors will mild cognitive problems living at home can go for a walk become disoriented and lost years before an official Alzheimer’s diagnosis. That’s why many urge family members to be proactive and outfit their elderly loved one with a medical alert system with GPS.
A GPS tracking system is just one of several ways to greatly prevent another sad news headline. These life-saving devices are typically small, consisting of a console and a pendant with a button. The pendant can be worn around a person’s neck, hip or wrist. With medical alert systems equipped with GPS, a lost senior just has to push a button to get help from the emergency response call center. Authorities or loved ones nearby can be contacted and the lost or confused person can be easily taken home.
Even if the wearer of the device does not press the button for help, their caregivers or family members can still easily track that person’s current location and where they previously have been. Because the pendants are typically worn at all times, they also have a major advantage over a cell phone—which may not be in an elderly person’s reach or even working in the event of an emergency.
It is important to note; however, that not every medical alert system includes GPS tracking. For those that don’t, a person’s whereabouts can’t be monitored closely. Instead, they merely enable a user to press and request for help in the case of an emergency, such as a slip and fall. This is the case for one of the best known brands, Life Alert, which doesn’t offer GPS enabled location finder.
GPS Medical Alert Systems Providers are Plentiful
The good news is that there are many companies that do offer this service.
Medical Guardian offers a medical alert system that a user can easily wear on his or her wrist. In the event of an emergency, this medical alert system can track the user’s’ whereabouts using the GPS capability built into the device worn by the senior.
MobileHelp also offers GPS tracking with a medical alert system that is half the size of a deck of playing cards and can be easily concealed or attached to a loved one. According to the company’s website, its device allows anyone to track a loved one via the Internet.
Sky Angel GPS calls itself “the OnStar for senior citizens.” Similar to the other companies already mentioned, its device can easily allow an emergency call center to locate the user, even if they’re lost or can’t describe their location.
According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, persons 65 and older represent nearly 13% of the population. By 2030, there will be about 72.1 million older persons, more than twice their number in 2000. Health experts say the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s doubles about every five years after age 65. After age 85, the risk reaches nearly 50 percent, making medical alert systems with GPS a must-have item for all seniors.
A GPS Medical Alert Can Provide Peace of Mind
Although the cost of these medical alert systems with gps tracking can run anywhere from $500 or more annually, for family members caring for someone living with dementia or Alzheimer’s, it’s a price worth paying for peace of mind—especially if it can also save a life.