What are some suggestions for tracking devices for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia who have wandering behaviors?

Wandering in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is very common, and can be dangerous. Six in 10 individuals with Alzheimer’s disease will wander.

Many tracking devices are on the market to create a safe and secure environment for affected individuals, especially those with a tendency to wander, and to lend assurance and comfort to the caregiver.

MedicAlert + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return is a nationwide wanderer’s safety program created by the Alzheimer’s Association. This program supports the safe and timely return of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias who wander and become lost and/or have a medical emergency. An application for this program is available online at alz.org or can be obtained locally at Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area, alzbr.org, which underwrites the cost of the enrollment fee.

Project Lifesaver, projectlifesaver.org, is the first to apply tracking technology for the search and rescue of those with cognitive impairment. People enrolled in the program are given a personal transmitter which is worn around his/her ankle. When that person wanders, the caregiver calls the local Project Lifesaver agency and a trained team responds. Recovery time averages about 30 minutes and most who wander are found within a few miles of their home.

Mindme, mindme.care, offers two lifesaving devices: a location device and an alarm. The alarm alerts a Mindme response center in case of a fall or emergency. The locator device is specifically designed for people with cognitive impairments.

The GPS Shoe, gpssmartsole.com, has a tracking device in the heel of the right shoe, is rechargeable and sends a signal to a central monitoring system so that caregivers can track their loved ones through a website. The GPS Smart Sole is a similar device in which a tracking sole is fitted into any shoe and allows caregivers to track in the same manner.

Safe Link, safelinkgps.com, is a small device carried by the person who may wander. It periodically sends its geographic coordinates to central servers, and caregivers who can view the wearer’s location via a website.

Questions about Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia disorder? Contact Dana Territo, the Memory Whisperer, Director of Services at Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area, (225) 334-7494, advice@alzbr.org, or visit the organization at 3772 North Blvd., Baton Rouge.