GPS tracker for walking tendencies due to dementia

In Germany, around 1.5 million people suffer from dementia, worldwide the figure is almost 47 million(source). Sick people and their relatives often have to deal with many symptoms at the same time. These include limited motor skills, increasing difficulties in speaking, as well as so-called walking tendencies. We will explain below exactly what this is and why a GPS tracker might help.

What is meant by strolling tendencies?

The term “runaway tendency” used to be more common. In the meantime, however, it has been agreed to use the word “running towards”. The reason for this is the assumption that sick people do not simply run away. It is much more likely that they have a goal that is often incomprehensible to those involved. You believe you have an obligation to fulfill. Whether it’s an avoidable deadline or the mistaken belief that you have to go back to work. These outbreaks are problematic anyway, as the mostly elderly people are not under such important supervision. Breakdowns can go unnoticed and the often irrational behavior in public is a major risk for those affected. (You can find more information on the topic of forwarding tendencies here. You can read the experiences of other relatives here )

Where does the search begin? How does a GPS transmitter help?

Extensive search operations have to be launched. The biggest problem here: No one can even begin to say with certainty in which direction a person suffering from dementia is moving. As already described, there is ultimately no rational behavior that could provide information. And unfortunately it often takes too long to realize that older people have lost their way. Especially if they live alone. But even in long-term marriages, it is often not possible for the partner to cope with the symptoms of dementia alone. Hours often pass full of doubt and uncertainty.

Although GPS trackers cannot prevent outbreaks of the disease, they make the search much easier and can also raise the alarm more quickly if the person concerned is on an unusual route. These two advantages are guaranteed by two functions of a GPS tracker that you should always pay attention to. Firstly, the main function of a GPS tracker: the location query. Depending on the model, the GPS tracker must either be called or texted or you can query its location live via the app. If the worst comes to the worst, the exact location of the lost person can be determined within a few seconds. Help would be on site more quickly and the risk of a serious incident would be lower.
The second aspect concerns the so-called radius alarm function. Here, too, there are differences between the models. You can either specify a radius by text message, for example, or draw it directly on a map in the app. A virtual boundary is then determined around the current location with the specified diameter. If the tracker moves out of this range, it triggers an alarm. Relatives are thus informed more quickly if a person with dementia wanders off.

What should I look out for in a GPS tracker?

You should take a close look at the two functions mentioned above. How precise and how reliable is the localization assessed in the test? Depending on your personal preference, you can choose from various options when setting up. We prefer to set up all functions via the app, as we find it the most user-friendly method and we don’t have to send complicated SMS commands. With the radius in particular, it can be useful to be able to see directly where the virtual boundary runs. Is the normal supermarket still included in the zone or will an alarm be triggered in future every time the person goes shopping, probably even when accompanied. Unnecessary inconveniences like this are not necessary and, in our experience, are best avoided by using an app.

Other important aspects of the tracker are its size and weight. It should be a small and lightweight transmitter. After all, people with Alzheimer’s should not have a brick in their jacket or handbag. The device’s battery is just as important. If the device has to be constantly charged, this inevitably increases the risk of no longer having an operational GPS tracker at the crucial moment.

In our comparison test: GPS tracker for children/people you can see our personal top selection, as well as detailed tests of the individual devices.

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