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Should You Get a GPS Device for a Parent with Dementia?

Dementia often causes changes in behavior. One change that can occur is wandering, which means the person may leave their home and become disoriented, or lost. When an older adult with dementia becomes lost, it is very distressing for their family members. Managing the behavior is difficult, and families may try a number of different strategies before finding something that works for their situation. One thing family caregivers may try is a GPS device made especially for dementia patients who wander.

Elderly Care in Marshall MN: GPS for Seniors with Dementia

Elderly Care in Marshall MN: GPS for Seniors with Dementia

Pros and Cons of GPS Devices.

Using a GPS device to track a senior with dementia is somewhat controversial since some people argue that it infringes on the person’s privacy. They also say the devices can take away some of the person’s dignity because it’s the same technology people used to track criminals or lost dogs. Yet, a GPS device can also be one of the best ways to keep your aging relative safe. They make it possible for you to find the person if they don’t return home when expected. A GPS device could also allow a person with dementia to continue living independently longer. They can also help a person who has recently been diagnosed regain some of their confidence, knowing that if they should become lost, they will be found.

Ultimately, whether family caregivers decide to purchase a GPS device for an elderly person with dementia is a personal decision. If the person is in the early stages of dementia, it may be a good idea to involve them in the conversation so that you understand their wishes.

Available GPS Devices.

There are a number of different GPS devices on the market. Which one you choose will depend on many factors, such as features and price. Some available GPS devices include:

  • MindMe: There are actually two kinds of devices. One of them is an alarm that alerts a call center if the person falls. The other is a tracking device that can be worn as a pendant or put in a pocket or purse. It allows family caregivers to go online to see where the dementia patient is.
  • GPS Shoe: If a pendant device doesn’t work for your aging relative because they take it off, a GPS Shoe might be a better option. This device is in the heel of special shoes and has a rechargeable battery.
  • Project Lifesaver: Project Lifesaver offers a device that the senior wears around their ankle. If the person wanders, family members can call the Project Lifesaver support center for assistance in finding them.


If you’re not certain a GPS device is the right solution for your aging family member, hiring an elderly care provider is an excellent solution to the problem of wandering. An elderly care provider can come to the house and stay with the senior while family caregivers are away. Elderly care providers can keep dementia patients safe from other risky behaviors, too, such as forgetting to turn the stove off or incorrectly using electrical appliances.

If you or someone you know needs elderly care in Marshall, MN, contact Prairie River Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services for many fragile or senior members in the communities we serve. Call us at (888) 660-5772 for more information.







Lori Seeman

Lori Seemann has a background in nurse management, hands-on critical care and business management. Her clinical expertise and knowledge of information systems had been instrumental in ensuring operational consistency in all branch offices. She led efforts that resulted in implementation of a new home care computer system that is utilized for staffing, scheduling, clinical records and billing. Lori continues to seek opportunities to improve caregiver productivity through nurse utilization of a unique point of care laptop computer system.