The 10 Best GPS Trackers for the Elderly

The number of people living with dementia and Alzheimer's Disease is expected to rise to 75.6 million by 2030, and 135.5 million by 2050 (source). Dementia and other similar conditions often cause older adults to become confused or lost in both familiar and unfamiliar places.

If an aging loved one becomes lost or disoriented at times you may want to consider utilizing a GPS locator or a wearable device in order to track their whereabouts and find them in an emergency. The development of GPS medical alert systems has changed the way the elderly receive round-the-clock care while living at home. The changing technology does offer comfort for caregivers and autonomy to the elderly.

The use of GPS Trackers for the elderly such as those offered by Medical Guardian, AngelSensePocketfinderiTraq, Spy Tec, SPOTGPS SmartSole, Trackimo, and Bay Alarm Medical can bring your aging loved one safely home and provide greater peace of mind for caregivers and family members of people with dementia.

The Pros and Cons of Geolocation Tools for Seniors

The adoption of GPS medical technology has its pros and cons. Before purchasing and jumping into using a GPS medical device (mobile or wearable) read the list below to determine if utilizing this technology is the right choice for you and your loved one.

Those that use a GPS tool to monitor their loved ones have noted that it does offer the ability for both the wearer and caregiver to live an independent life but remain connected in the event of an emergency.

The downside of using a GPS tool is misguided safety. Overly relying on the device may give the wearer more freedom but that can come with decreased physical interaction and connection. Requiring the device to be on the person at all times can prove difficult if the wearer simply removes it or leaves it at home. Also, privacy can become a source of contention since the device will be tracking and monitoring the wearer at all times.

The information below describes the pros and cons of the specific geolocation tools in more detail.

General Concerns of Technology in Home Care

Keep the following questions in mind when determining what tool is best for you and your loved one:

  • Will it replace the element of personal contact?
  • If the technology of a GPS locator is how health is monitored, will the family or caregiver not check-in as often and provide the personal, emotional contact needed?

These concerns are valid and will take time to answer since emerging technology is new and rapidly changing.

Wearable Technology and Mobile Apps

GPS technology for the older and/or infirm can be wearable or in the form of a mobile app. These tools are specifically designed to track and monitor the location of a person. The person will be connected to a caregiver through this device.

Pros Cons
  • Each wearable and/or mobile device can provide targeted monitoring and unique data collection.
  •  The device can notify individual of leaving designated area (i.e. home property).
  • In an emergency, the tools can connect to the appropriate emergency responders.
  • If the wearer is lost, the devices can guide them to their desired location.
  • Each device requires the user to wear the device (i.e. heart monitor) or to carry his or her phone with them at all times.
  • The devices, if not charged or properly powered, could provide misguided safety.
  • Requires multiple users to actively use and monitor tool/device.
  • The tool does not lead to action without a crisis/emergency plan.

Remote Monitoring Tools

In a different look at GPS tools, remote monitoring devices create a direct link between your loved one and access to health monitoring tools. This type of technology allows an individual to actively monitor his or her health remotely.

Pros Cons
  • Allows seniors to keep a closer eye on their daily health from their home.
  • Cuts down on the stress that going to the doctor can create.
  •  Can help with managing medication and daily intake.
  • Provides increased immediate access to medical care, reducing the impact of health-related emergencies.
  • The user may rely too much on the alert systems causing them to not pay as much attention to general and/or feelings changes in condition.
  •   If the home monitoring tool does not detect something the individual may not consider what they feel as significant enough to alert his or her physician.
  • Could promote an isolated or sedentary lifestyle by reducing the need to leave the home.
  • Can cause a reduction in privacy of personal health information.

In general, the tools listed above do provide tremendous opportunities to improve the quality of care. The growing market of technologies is not a way to relieve the responsibility of the caregiver, but they should enhance a caregivers' ability to provide comprehensive and high-quality care for their loved one.

A Few Things to Consider Before You Purchase

  • What Type of Device is Best Suited to Your Situation? Depending on the severity of your loved one's dementia you may need a vehicle tracking device in case they get turned around, or you may need a wearable tracker that can tell you if they leave the house on foot.
  • Will your loved one be receptive to wearing a tracking device? Your loved one may be resistant to having their activities monitored during the early stages, or they may find security in knowing that help is available to them should they become lost or confused.
  • What Features Are Must-Haves? GPS trackers come with many features including; geofencing, SOS buttons, two-way calling, and voice monitoring.
  • Will There Be Any Additional Fees? Many GPS trackers require a monthly fee, so be sure you understand the costs involved before you purchase.

Top 10 Products to Track my Elderly Parents Location

Below is our list of the top 10 GPS products for tracking your aging loved one's location based on reviews from several tech industry blogs, customer reviews, and ratings.

Grading Summary

The grades assigned to each GPS tracker below are based on criteria related to price, range, battery life, comfort, functionality, standout features, and overall customer reviews. The following grading structure is used to help you quickly identify the differences in GPS trackers and investigate each one for your needs.

A+ = An excellent quality GPS tracker with no overall limitations or drawbacks. The functionality, comfort, and price are all appropriately aligned and give the customer the best cost and quality.

A = A high-quality GPS tracker with some minimal limitations in the price, battery life, or subscription cost.

A- = A top-quality GPS tracker with good standout features but the cost-to-quality ratio in the price and subscription cost is on the margins for comparison.

B+ = A great-priced GPS tracker and functional device for the primary purpose of tracking and monitoring with limited technology and additional features.

B = A quality GPS tracker that offers the core functionality and reliable technology to support monitoring with only basic features and no standout differentiators from competitors.

Medical Guardian

Overall Grade: A-

Wearable, comfortable, smart technology that keeps you safe at a reasonable price. 

Medical Guardian provides numerous options for families and seniors such as GPS trackers, medical alert devices, in-home devices, and personal emergency response systems. Their offerings also include fall detection and a 24/7 monitoring service that provides a comprehensive security offering.

The uniquely designed smartwatch-style GPS tracker, MG Move, is perfect for active older adults. You will find voice-to-text SMS messaging as one stand-out feature.

The Mobile Guardian 2 is a wearable mobile alert device with an easy notification system for safety with a single button. It is a water-resistant auto-fall detection safety measure for your aging loved one.

Best GPS Trackers for Older Adults - Medical Guardian - Mobile Guardian 2

The Mini Guardian is Medical Guardian's most petite offering at half the width of standard devices. Specifically designed to be water-resistant this product can be used in the shower and bath where falls are common. The Mini Guardian can be clipped to clothing and accessories or worn around the neck.

AngelSense Elderly GPS Tracker and App

Overall Grade: A

Easy to use and connect with your smartphone app using GPS tracking with SOS features and peace of mind. 

The AngelSense GPS Tracker is a unique offering that combines a GPS tracker and mobile app with a monthly service plan that includes unlimited notifications, full-day location updates, late departure warnings, email alerts and real-time technical support. AngelSense initially entered the market as a service to track children and those with special needs (such as autism) and later expanded into the elderly tracking space. This solution is perfect for those with Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, and other memory problems as it helps prevent wandering and mistreatment while promoting independence and reducing family caregiver stress and anxiety. The AngelCall feature also allows families to talk to their elderly loved ones directly without the need for them to “pick-up” the device. AngelSense offers three pricing plans and provides free onboarding support by phone. For a limited time, AngelSense is offering their GPS tracking device for only $69 (70% off)

What We Liked:

  • This is both a one-way and two-way communication device
  • Real-time mapping with an "unknown place' alert feature
  • They offer three pricing plans to choose from and provide free onboarding support by phone

PocketFinder

Overall Grade: A+

A small, waterproof GPS finder providing pinpoint accurate location using, GPS, WiFi, and cell connection for a safe and reliable device. 

The newer PocketFinder models utilize all three location technologies, GPS, Cell ID, and Google Wi-Fi touch, for accurate outdoor and indoor locating. It also has an SOS button. You can also receive $30 off Personal or Vehicle trackers exclusively with the Caring Village discount code: CARING30

What We Liked:

  • This device provides email and text updates for your computer or phone including the exact location and speed at which the tracker is moving
  • The geo-fence zone with up to 60 days of tracking history
  • App available for Andriod and iOS devices

iTraq

Overall Grade: A-

This trustworthy GPS tracking device is durable and convenient to monitor with excellent customer support and an appropriate price. 

iTraq determines its position using WiFi triangulation (for indoor tracking) as well as GPS and cellular tower triangulation that allows iTraq to be located anywhere in the world where cellular service exists. There are also fall detection, scheduled reporting, and geofencing abilities. Battery life can also last up to four months depending on the settings you select.

What We Liked:

  • Long-lasting battery life
  • Temperature sensor alerts for extreme cold and heat
  • Location sharing ability

SpyTec GPS GL300

Overall Grade: B+

This durable GPS tracker is compact and a safe way to monitor and care for your aging loved one primarily focused on tracking a person, vehicle or asset. 

The Spy Tec STI_GL300 Mini Portable Real-Time GPS Tracker is a good match for seniors because it ensures unsurpassed accuracy and provides real-time location tracking. Powered by proprietary tracking software and the cutting-edge GL-300 real-time GPS tracking device, Spy Tec is an industry leader in addressing consumer and enterprise GPS tracking needs.

What We Liked:

  • Long battery life of up to 2 weeks
  • Structurally waterproof, magnetic case for a solid and durable device
  • It's easy to set up special alerts to be notified when the tracker arrives at a specific location
  • 0.256 millisecond processing time of the 4G cellular network using a SIM card and GPS/GSM technology
  • All of the information and data is stored on the cloud so you can rest assured that you will not lose your loved one's location

SPOT X Satellite GPS Messenger

Overall Grade: B

A great device connected to a satellite network for a reliable and secure 1-way GPS tracking message service.

SPOT Gen3 gives aging adults a critical, life-saving line of communication when they travel beyond the boundaries of cell service. The latest generation of award-winning SPOT devices, SPOT Gen3 lets family and friends know their loved one is okay, or if the worst should happen, sends emergency responders their GPS location - all with the push of a button.

What We Liked:

  • SOS button for use in emergency situations
  • Continuous tracking options
  • Easy to use 1-way messaging that is easy to customize
  • These devices are connected to a private satellite network called GEOS creating a safety network anywhere
Best GPS Trackers for Seniors

GPS SmartSole

Overall Grade: B+

A comfortable GPS tracker that is hard to forget with an additional comfort to the senior using it as they walk around. 

The GPS SmartSole provides peace of mind for family members and those caring for the millions of people suffering from memory impairment and wandering which can be caused by Alzheimer's, Dementia, Autism, Traumatic Brain Injury, or other cognitive memory disability. The patented GPS-enabled “Smart” insoles fit easily into most adult shoes and let you monitor the whereabouts of loved ones who may tend to wander or be at risk of becoming confused and lost. You can track their location through any smartphone, tablet, or web browser, set up text and e-mail alerts if they leave or enter defined areas on a map.

What We Liked:

  • The unique hidden design protects the wearer's dignity
  • The ability to check your loved one's location via their app
Best GPS Tracker for Alzheimer's and Dementia

Trackimo

Overall Grade: A-

This multi-purpose GPS tracker is fast, convenient, and ready to use right out of the box. 

Trackimo has a comprehensive GPS tracker offering to include uses for vehicles, drones, pets, children, and the elderly. Their primary device is currently the smallest on the market coming in at less than 1.5 ounces. Trackimo leverages smart alerts by SMS or email that can automatically message family members when their loved one leaves the "safe zone." They also boast about battery life of up to 96 hours which is quite impressive with the small size of the device. As of November of 2018, they are offering free GPS service for the first year before you transition into a $5 per month fee which is the lowest fee we are aware of. Although their primary device is the 3G Tracker, their other devices such as travel trackers, watches, and pet devices all have the same functionality in different form factors and can be reviewed at their online store.

What We Liked:

  • The speed, fence, and motion alert feature is uniquely designed to track and alert you when there is any change in behavior or movement outside the geo-fence
  • Extremely long battery life (up to 1-month)
Best GPS Trackers for Seniors - Trackimo

Jiobit GPS Tracker

Overall Grade: B+

For close-range monitoring to keep your aging parent safe, there is no better device. It is a comfortable device and not noticeable to the wearer.

Jiobit is the first of its kind patented location tracking platform that uses Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Cellular, and GPS. This is one of the smallest location trackers on the market for children and seniors and helps keep your loved ones safe. It's small and lightweight and will clip discreetly to clothing and shoes. Jiobit, which pairs with a smartphone to deliver real-time location information, will track in any location at any distance. Jiobit requires cellular data to track location. Plans are selected at activation in the Jiobit app with no separate cellular contract needed.

What We Like:

  • Real-time, turn-by-turn tracking (on demand)
  • The ability to invite care teams
  • SOS mode (available with Joibit Protect Plan)
Best GPS Tracker for Dementia

Bay Alarm Medical 

Overall Grade: A-

An extremely reliable and reasonably priced GPS tracker will connect you within seconds to emergency services and help.

The Bay Alarm Medical Alert GPS tracker is ideal for older adults with active lifestyles. It is a portable help button like many competitors. The on-the-go help button is small and is easily worn around the neck, on a belt clip, in a bag, or wherever convenient. The long battery life of up to 72-hours, water-resistant exterior, and auto-fall detection (if selected) will keep your aging loved one safe. You can get started with a $79 device (one-time) cost and then a $29.95/month service cost. You can upgrade with additional monthly costs for fall detection and include in-home protection. The 4G cellular network will provide you with extensive coverage and safety protection.

What We Liked:

  • The solid 72-hour battery life
  • The optional auto-fall detection that connects to a dispatcher in about 15 seconds
  • The press and hold button that provides and instantaneous connection

Notable Mention: Alerta Patch & Wedge Wearable Proximity Monitor

Overall Grade: A

For close-range monitoring to keep your aging parent safe, there is no better device. It is a comfortable device and not noticeable to the wearer.

The Alerta Patch & Wedge System was designed for the family caregiver, caring for someone with dementia at home. While not a GPS device, we felt this passive, wearable proximity monitoring system was worth a mention. The care recipient wears the patch on the upper back. It is discreet and comfortable. The caregiver can either hold the wedge carried in a pocket or place it in a central location. Alerta allows the caregiver to attend to household tasks (or maybe even rest) without needing a line-of-sight to the care recipient. The patch is lightweight, comfortable, water-resistant, and discreet. Alerta is a low-cost, easy-to-use solution that does not require additional devices or cellular or WiFi services.

What We Liked:

  • This patch sticks directly to your loved one's skin like a bandaid making it more discreet than many alternatives
  • This product is specifically designed for indoor use

Brand Comparison

BRAND

PRICE*

COST*

GPS RANGE & CAPABILITIES

BATTERY LIFE

$198.90

$60/year

3G Cellular Network

Up to 1-month

$99 (+$19 Activation Fee)

$399/year

3G/4G Cellular Connection

Up to 24 hours

$124

$39.95/mo

$439.46/year
(16% savings)

4G Cellular Connection

3-5 days

$359

N/A

4G Cellular Network

Up to 48 hours

$79

$29.95/mo
(Mobile Lite)

$39.95
(Mobile Plus)

$49.95/mo

(Mobile 360 Bundle)

4G Cellular Network

Up to 4 days

$159

$12.95/mo

$129/year

Google WiFi Touch/Smart Tracker

2 days

$129

$7.99/mo

$79/year

iTraq Data Plan

Up to 120 days for one report per day setting.

Up to 14 days for one report per hour setting.

Up to 3 days for one report every 10 minutes setting.

$39.95

$19.95/mo
(with annual plan)

$24.95/mo
(with monthly plan)

Mobile App Interface

14 days

$159 (1 Month Supply)

$222 (3 Month Supply)

$312 (6 Month Supply)

N/A

Radio Signal

Up to 1-month

$139.95

N/A

Satellite GPS Network

17 days

Conclusion

Before purchasing a GPS tracking device, make sure to receive permission from your aging loved one. If possible, start having conversations about how you should handle particular situations with your loved one as the disease progresses. While these are no doubt difficult conversations to have, getting them out of the way early on will give you peace of mind as a caregiver and help ensure that you are following your loved one's wishes as closely as possible. We have several tips for how to navigate sensitive conversations like this in our, 'What is the Best Way to Communicate with an Aging Parent About the Future?' article.

And keep in mind that although GPS tracking does not necessarily equal better care, as it cannot stop someone from getting lost if worn or in possession of the person lost, they can provide peace of mind to concerned family members. Research the products above to find the right device or app for you or your loved one.

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