Have You Used a Non-phone GPS Tracker?

Updated on November 21, 2018
M.D. asks from Pittsburgh, PA
6 answers

Fanged's question reminded me of one that I have. I've been searching for a tracker for an elderly family member who likes to take a daily walk. She has Alzheimer's. She hasn't gotten lost yet, but we are worried. At the same time, we don't want to limit her walking as long as she is able - it's great for her physically, and exercise is one of the few things proven to slow the progression of the disease.

Our challenges are that she doesn't carry a phone or a purse nor does she wear any jewelry, so it would need to be something we can attach to a shoe or a coat, hopefully discreetly. Keeping it charged will also be a challenge, so long battery life would be important. She thinks that our concerns are not warranted and refused to wear the medical-like bracelet that we got with her name and address on it, so I don't think she will purposefully pick up a tracker and take it with her. But if it was already attached to a shoelace/coat zipper, etc, I don't think she would remove it.

The best solution would, of course, be someone who would walk with her daily, but we haven't found anyone who can do that. (other relevant info is that we are trying to keep her home as long as possible, she lives with her husband who is her main caregiver but he has physical disabilities that make it impossible for him to walk with her, plus there is a caregiver who comes in to help out with meals but that also doesn't solve the walking issue, and no other family members are local)

Has anyone dealt with anything similar and either found a good tracker or come up with another creative solution?

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answers from Boston on

A lot of runners (who never carry ID) wear a runner ID bracelet. It doesn't look at all like a medical bracelet. My son and husband wear them, and we got one for my mother when she was starting to have memory issues. She always considered it an "athlete's ID" rather than an "old lady tracker" and it worked fine. Most are wristbands but you can get something that attaches to the shoelaces if it won't be in her way and something she'll take off. You could also try sewing an ID label into her coat (even if it's a camp-type label for identifying kids' clothes for overnight camp). She might not notice it or perhaps she would consider it a hedge against a lost coat vs. a lost person. You could also get an engraved metal tag like a dog license (just get one that's a heart shape, not one that's a dog bone shape) and put it on as a zipper pull or inside the coat where they attach the extra buttons. Put her name/address and your contact number on it.

These don't help you find her, but they do help the police locate you.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

This isn't helpful as far as going outdoors, but do you have those indoor tracks they have? That way at least she'd be indoors and not wandering off. My mom and her friends go there. You can often get shuttles if she's not able to drive (or that is a concern). They have those for elderly people and just people with disabilities. It depends on her attitude and pride at this point.

I have disabilities that prevent me from being active, and I have to rely on others to get out and be active. I have to wear identification etc.

So maybe changing up where and how she walks (the indoor tracks are sometimes in arenas or health facilities, or at rinks, etc.) or gets exercise - maybe she could join a little exercise group - might be a better solution. I had to do that.

Just a thought.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i got nothing if she's not willing to work with you.

we have a similar problem with my in-laws. we've got Life Alerts for them, but since they refuse to wear them they're not much good.

:/ khairete

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