Healthcare News & Insights

Does Grandma need GPS for her walker?

Dementia patients wandering off has been a growing problem for hospitals, nursing homes and patient families. A new service designed to keep track of at-risk patients might be worth looking into. LiveViewGPS provides personal GPS devices that can be tracked online. The devices can be put on a keychain, in a pocket or even sewn into clothing.

The service comes with a live “dashboard” that allows staff to track the location of the wearer of the device. That’s especially crucial for the elderly and dementia patients who may be on strict medication timetables.

Is this a useful tool, or another example of Big Brother? Weigh in in the comments.

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  1. When someone has a dementia diagnosis it usually means that a significant other has the repsonsibility of caring for their needs(hopefully). Quite often persons with dementia wander frequently, and this is not limited to just day hours. I have seen families going to great lengths to put special locks on doors, etc to prevent their loved one from leaving the house just so they can get some sleep. Remember that folks with dementia can not always remember what they were told…just five minutes before, especially the Alzheimer’s type dementia. So telling your loved one not to do something is meaningless. Asking them to remain sitting on a park bench, while you bring your grandchild to the bathroom is taking a risk. Therefore, this device can be very helpful. It could save many lives. Just look at the news reports of the elderly folks that have driven or walked off and found dead days later. If a person has decreased cognitive function, then we must use all the tools at our disposal to keep them safe. I would rather keep a person in their home longer knowing I can keep tabs on them, then have to admit them to a secure unit in a nursing facility. I would use it in a heartbeat.

  2. I believe GPS for Grandma is a great idea. First as your article says it could help nursing home patients that somehome leave the building. It can also help for people who are not quite ready for the nursing home if they do wander away not leaving a note. And thirdly, as was the case with my mother and a friend of mine’s grandmother… If a parent or loved one lives at home alone you can monitor whether they are moving about or if they a motionless for awhile. I use to call my mother and when I did not get an answer I had to get in the car and drive to her home to make sure she was OK. This was not always possible when I was at work.

    Anything to help but it has to be a low cost device or it may not catch on!

    If you can program this device to trigger an alarm in the house or to auto call a caretaker when the person tracked has gone beyond a certain parameter this could make it one step better. In the case of a child, perhaps it could prevent those taken from their homes in the middle of the night if a stranger breaks in to kidnap the child. Or could trigger the alarm when a child leaves the house or yard and prevent them from drowning in a swimming pool in their yard or a neighbors.

    Good Luck!

  3. I would have appreciated it 1 year ago when my mother walked away from a low security senior daycare center. She got on a bus and to this day, we do not know where she went. She was gone for 5 hours while the staff, family, and friends left work and homes to look for her from 1pm to 6 pm. Her dementia drove her to “go home” and a kind Samaritan on the bus (a different one from the one she got on) took up a conversation with her and realized the situation. The Samaritan took Grandma to her home – got into the car and drove Grandma to the address in her purse. Thank God for angels like these. I can buy a key locator but I can not buy a “Grandma” locator at this time. And her dementia is such that she will not wear a bracelet or necklace without struggling to remove for hours – if need be. So having something that can be sewn into clothing would be wonderful!