Seniors with Dementia: Keeping Them Safe with GPS Tracking

A caregiver from A Place At Home speaks to a senior woman she is assisting.

If your loved one has dementia, wandering can be a big source of worry. The Alzheimer’s Association finds that 6 in 10 people living with dementia wander at least once, with many doing so multiple times. Wandering may sound harmless, but it’s actually very dangerous and sometimes life-threatening. However, there are ways to prevent your loved one with dementia from wandering, including wearable GPS trackers for the elderly. Learn about GPS tracking for seniors with dementia and how to keep them safe in an ethical way.

Keeping Track of a Loved One With Dementia

Caring for seniors with dementia requires creativity and resourcefulness. GPS tracking devices offer invaluable assistance in keeping track of your loved one. A wearable GPS tracker for elderly individuals allows you to monitor their location in real time. You can stay informed regarding their whereabouts at home, on a walk, or even in unfamiliar surroundings, not only easing your anxiety but also helping to find them quickly if they happen to wander off.

Another option is a smartphone app designed to track someone’s location. Apps such as BoundaryCare allow you to set up safe boundaries, so you’ll receive a notification when your loved one crosses the margin.

Safe, Effective, and Ethical Tracking Solutions

When it comes to tracking devices for elderly individuals with dementia, safety, effectiveness, and ethics must be the top priorities. GPS tracking devices designed specifically for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia are non-invasive and prioritize their well-being. The devices are lightweight, discreet, and fit like a comfortable watch or pendant. Most importantly, they do not interfere with your loved one’s daily activities or cause any discomfort. If you don’t want to use another device, you can download an app on your loved one’s phone or smartwatch to track them.

It’s essential to choose a tracking device that offers accurate and reliable location data. Look for devices that use GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular technology to ensure that you can access location information, even if they are indoors or in areas with poor GPS signal coverage. Additionally, opt for devices with long battery life to avoid frequent charging, as your loved one might forget to charge the device regularly.

Moreover, involve your loved one in the decision-making process as much as possible. Explain to your loved one why the tracking device is necessary for their safety and reassure them that it is not a means of control but rather an extra layer of protection. Getting their consent and understanding can help ease any feelings of distress or violation of privacy.

Prevent Wandering in Seniors With Dementia

Wandering is common for those with dementia, and preventing it requires a multifaceted approach. While GPS tracking devices can play a vital role in finding a senior who has wandered off, other preventive measures can significantly reduce the likelihood of wandering incidents.

  1. Safe home environment: Make sure the home environment is secure, with locks and alarms on doors and windows. Consider using doorknob covers that may be challenging for them to open.
  2. Routine and structure: Establishing a predictable daily routine can help reduce restlessness and confusion in individuals with dementia, making them less likely to wander.
  3. Identification and emergency contact: Ensure your loved one wears identification with their name, address, and emergency contact number. If they do wander off, this information can be invaluable in reuniting them with you.
  4. Engaging activities: Take part in engaging them with activities that stimulate their mind and body, such as a crossword puzzle. Boredom and restlessness can sometimes trigger wandering behavior.

Seek Help from the Professionals at A Place At Home

Navigating the world of caring for a parent of a loved one is challenging. While many tools exist, such as wearable GPS trackers for elderly individuals, there are still life-threatening risks of leaving those with dementia alone.

Find peace of mind by hiring in-home caregivers with A Place At Home. Our dementia care services assist with daily living activities such as meal preparation, cooking, and eating, as well as managing assistive devices like hearing aids, glasses, and ambulatory aids. Our trained caregivers help your loved ones stay as independent as possible. We will visit you and your loved one to determine the perfect care plan, whether a couple of hours a day or 24/7 assistance.

Find a location to begin the journey of finding a specialized care plan to keep your loved one safe.

Signs of Dementia to Look for During the Holiday

Signs of Dementia to Look for During the Holiday

The holiday season is the most momentous time of the year as families, both near and far, gather to celebrate and rejoice in the festivities. As we roll from Thanksgiving into the holiday season, more and more time is spent with family. However, while this time may be full of joy and merriment, it can also show apparent changes with your loved ones — changes that may be early signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

As we continue to gather with family, it is important to familiarize ourselves with the early signs and symptoms of dementia. Dementia is defined as a loss of memory, language, problem-solving, and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life — Alzheimer’s being the most common form of dementia. 

Signs of Dementia to Look for During the Holiday 

Memory loss

While forgetting someone’s name from time to time is normal, forgetting important events or recently learned information is a sign of memory loss. Asking the same questions or repeating a story multiple times are signs as well. The primary indicator is if your loved one is unable to recall the information later on. 

Struggle with Familiar Tasks 

Getting lost in familiar areas, forgetting to turn off the stove, neglecting to brush one’s teeth, or inability to recall the ingredients to the famous family recipe show struggle with tasks that were once handled gracefully and with ease. 

Uncharacteristic Distancing

Engaging in conversation, hobbies, and social activities becomes a struggle for those living with dementia, as remembering names or the rules of a game or simply holding a conversation becomes difficult. As a result, a person living with dementia tends to withdraw from social interaction.  

Misplacing Items

Alongside memory loss, losing or misplacing items may become more frequent. For example, a loved one may pick up an item and place it in an unusual or wrong place without being able to retrace their steps. 

Difficulty with Words

The inability to think of the correct word or continue their sentence is often a telltale sign of dementia. You may find your loved one struggling with vocabulary or referring to something with the wrong name. For example, referring to wine as “pressed grapes” or a watch as a “wrist clock.” 

Poor Judgement

As dementia affects logical decision-making, your loved one may experience a decline in judgment, which is a concern for safety. Crossing a busy road without checking to see if it’s safe, falling victim to a phone scam, neglecting to pay bills, or careless spending are significant signs of a decline in judgment. 

Shifts in Personality  

Individuals living with dementia may experience a shift in mood and personality. Your loved one can become confused, anxious, suspicious, and irritable as regulating and controlling emotions become more difficult.

Early detection of dementia is crucial to getting the proper care and treatment for your loved one. A Place At Home has supported families and individuals living with dementia for over a decade. Our professional and compassionate caregivers are empathetic and educated in the mental and physical care needs of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your situation or are seeking senior care, please reach out to us. We are here to help. 

Related Articles: 
The Alzheimer’s Association
Alzheimer’s Association Facts & Figures
The Seven Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease – Dr. Reisberg
8 Ways to Help a Loved One With Alzheimer’s
4 Tips for Reducing Alzheimer’s Stigma
9 Signs Your Loved One Needs Memory Care
Understanding the Potential Link Between Stress and Alzheimer’s Disease
10 Tips for Navigating the Holidays and Alzheimer’s 

Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month

National Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month is a call to action for Americans to be aware of Alzheimer’s and its effects on the brain and cognitive function, to raise awareness of the disease, and to support and stand with those diagnosed. 

Here at A Place At Home, we share research, data, and resources to educate and spread the word about Alzheimer’s and lend our support in the fight against the disease.

Alzheimer’s has hit an all-time record of affecting over 6 million Americans. It has become the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the most common cause of dementia among adults 65 and older. By 2050, an estimated 14 million Americans will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. 

Alzheimer’s is a brain disorder that slowly deteriorates one’s memory, thinking, and problem-solving skills. Its attack on the brain’s cognitive function leads to the inability to carry out basic activities of daily living. These difficulties occur from damaged or destroyed nerve cells (neurons) in the brain, eventually leading to the inability to perform bodily functions such as swallowing and walking. As the disease becomes more terminal, those diagnosed become bed-bound and require around-the-clock care.

The effects of Alzheimer’s can begin to cause changes in the brain a decade before showing symptoms. Each stage of the disease is determined by the severity and pace of neuron damage.  

Early detection and a diagnosis provide an individual with more time for treatment and significant medical and emotional attention. Advancements in science and cognitive therapy have provided medicine, mindful practices, and care that lead to the slowing of neuron damage and improvements in quality of life.

If you, a family member, or a friend notices a significant lapse in memory and cognitive function or any changes in the signs below, it may be time to consult a doctor.  

Signs of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia:

  • Difficulty remembering new things
  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Challenges with planning or problem solving
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work, or leisure
  • Confusion with time or place
  • Trouble understanding images and spatial relationships
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  • New problems with speaking or writing
  • Decreased or poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities
  • Changes in mood and personality

The A Place At Home system has been supporting families and individuals suffering because of dementia for over a decade. Our professional and compassionate caregivers are empathetic and educated in the mental and physical care needs of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your situation or are seeking senior care, reach out to us. We are here to help. 


The Alzheimer’s Association
Alzheimer’s Association Facts & Figures
The Seven Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease – Dr. Reisberg
8 Ways to Help a Loved One With Alzheimer’s
4 Tips for Reducing Alzheimer’s Stigma
9 Signs Your Loved One Needs Memory Care
Understanding the Potential Link Between Stress and Alzheimer’s Disease
10 Tips for Navigating the Holidays and Alzheimer’s 

10 Tips for Navigating the Holidays and Alzheimer’s

A Place At Home Caregiver

Taking care of a loved one who has Alzheimer’s this holiday season? While being a caregiver is both challenging and rewarding, the holidays bring some special challenges and require a prepared, proactive approach.

Here are 10 tips to help you navigate the holidays while caring for someone with Alzheimer’s:

1. Find Ways Your Loved One With Alzheimer’s Can Be Involved

Just because your loved one has Alzheimer’s Disease doesn’t necessarily mean he or she can’t be involved in the holiday celebrations. Even if it’s something simple like packing holiday tins with cookies, assisting in decorating or wrapping gifts, or signing and sending greeting cards – it can mean a lot to the person doing it.

2. Write A Holiday Wish List 

Some holiday gifts can be inappropriate or even dangerous for someone who has Alzheimer’s. So, take the time to create a wish list for your loved one this season. Get ideas from your loved one and others who know him/her, cross off anything that wouldn’t be a good idea given your loved one’s condition – and share the list online. Check out these gift ideas.

3. Let Others Know What To Expect This Holiday Season

Be sure to keep the whole family informed on all developments in your loved one’s Alzheimer’s condition. Let them know what he/she can handle and what he/she can’t. For example, patients with Alzheimer’s tend not to do well in conversations with multiple voices all going at once – one-on-one conversations are best.

4. Maintain Routine As Much As Possible

People with Alzheimer’s generally need to follow a pretty strict routine. It helps them avoid confusion, disruption, and needless stress. Thus, while there will be special events during the holidays, regular day-to-day activities should be maintained at all other times.

5. Consider A Holiday Lunch Or Brunch Instead Of Dinner

Alzheimer’s symptoms may be more prevalent during the evening hours, and it’s just harder on them to have guests over for a dinner party as opposed to earlier in the day. See if you can have people visit for a holiday lunch or brunch at Mom or Dad’s house instead of the (usually) more traditional dinner gathering. Or check with the Assisted Living community as sometimes Holiday meals may be offered.

6. Be Creative With Introducing New Holiday Traditions

Most of us tend to get stuck in a holiday rut, as it were, and the very thought of changing old holiday traditions may seem unsettling. But new traditions can be founded that accommodate the family member with Alzheimer’s and the fact you are spending a lot of time caring for him/her. Watching a favorite holiday movie together or meeting at a special restaurant are some examples.

7. Simplify The Holidays To Reduce Stress

As a caregiver, you will have less time to deal with the holidays than you may have had in the past. You don’t have to “skip” the holidays, but you probably do need to scale things back a bit. Little things like doing your Christmas shopping online or using gift bags instead of wrapping paper will save time and reduce stress.

8. Know Your Limitations & Ask For Help

Nothing can be more stressful than trying to do what you don’t feel qualified to do or what you simply can’t find the time to do. Ask other family members to help as needed and go to professionals for timely assistance and for help with anything outside your field of expertise.

9. Consider Holiday In-Home Care

You may not want to have your loved one move into a senior living community, or at least not yet while their condition is not too far along. De-stress the holidays by hiring in-home care and giving your loved one some special attention while you run errands. Contact A Place At Home – Omaha to learn how we can help your loved one during the holiday season and beyond where needed.

10. Join An Online Support Community

Finally, 10 tips are never enough – you need more! So be quick to join an online Alzheimer’s caregiver support community or talk with other caregivers to “pick their brains” for ideas and find resources, support, and encouragement!

In the end, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming for you and your loved one with Alzheimer’s. Remember that regardless of any memory issues your loved one lives with, it’s still important to include them in holiday events.

9 Signs Your Loved One Needs Memory Care

Depression in the elderly

1. You Worry About Your Loved One’s Safety

No matter if your loved one lives alone, with you, or in an assisted living community, if you are constantly worried about his or her safety, it may be time to move to memory care. Memory care communities are designed to meet the specialized needs of people living with dementia and with specially trained caregivers, they can keep your loved one safe around the clock.

2. You Worry About Your Own Safety 

As dementia progresses, many people experience significant personality changes and can develop confusion and agitation that leads to violence or threats of violence. If your loved one is exhibiting these signs and you are concerned about your own safety or the safety of others in your home, it may be best for your loved one to move to memory care. Memory care communities are familiar with these symptoms and know how to help your loved one work through emotions in a more productive manner.

3. You Are Exhausted

Caregiver burnout is very real and caring for someone with dementia is emotionally and physically exhausting. Many caregivers let their own health suffer while they are taking care of a loved one and caregiving alone is not a sustainable situation. Memory care communities are partners in caregiving and can give you rest while still involving you in important care decisions.

4. Your Loved One Is Neglecting Finances

If your loved one is living alone, take note of their mail. Are you seeing late notices on unpaid bills? What about creditor and collection notices? Have an open and honest conversation with your loved one about their financial situation. Neglecting finances is one of the first signs of dementia for many and can leave your loved one open to financial scams, putting their finances at risk.

5. Your Loved One Is Neglecting Personal Care

Unwashed or wrinkled clothing, body odor, unkempt hair, and other personal hygiene issues are another sign that it may be time to move to memory care. It can mean your loved one is missing standard hair and nail appointments, forgetting to bathe, forgetting to do wash, and can be a sign of dementia. Memory care services will include personal care and assistance with activities of daily living that help your loved one stay on track.

6. Your Loved One Wanders

If your loved one wakes in the middle of the night or becomes confused and disoriented he or she may wander. Wandering can be extremely dangerous as your loved one will walk and not realize where they are, or how to get back home. It can put seniors in dangerous situations and leave them exposed to harsh elements in the winter and summer. Memory care communities are secured and often have enclosed outdoor spaces to keep your loved one from wandering off without a caregiver.

7. Living Conditions Are Subpar

Early dementia can sometimes present itself as hoarding. If you see that your loved one is no longer caring for his or her home, the mail is piling up, food is spoiled in the refrigerator, dishes are left out, and other household messes become uncontrollable, it may be time to move to memory care. Memory care communities include housekeeping and linen services, helping your loved one stay clean and well in their apartment home.

8. Your Loved One Is Isolated & Lonely

Getting out with a loved one with dementia can be difficult for caregivers and it’s very easy for people with dementia to sink into isolation. Feelings of isolation and loneliness can increase the risk of depression. Memory care communities have active and engaging calendars with activities that are specifically designed for people with dementia. Activities are meant to be purposeful and fun while also mitigating some of the agitation and anxiety dementia brings.

9. You Want to Restore Your Relationship With Your Loved One

Over time, as dementia progresses, you have become your loved one’s caregiver. It has changed your relationship and now you spend more time managing their care than anything else. Moving to memory care can help you reverse that relationship so that you get to spend time with your loved one doing the things you love to do together while someone else handles the professional care.

Join us on the 2017 Walk to End Alzheimer’s

A Place at Home is ready to take the first step to a world without Alzheimer’s when we join the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s at 12 pm on September 24. We hope you will join our walk team or simply come by to cheer us on.

The route is only two miles with a one-mile route option available. There is no cost to participate, however if you’d like to donate to the cause, please visit our A Place at Home walk team page organized by our Community Liaison, Chris Cummings.A Place at Home 2016 Walk to End Alzheimer's Team

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is held in more than 600 communities nationwide and it is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.

Why do we need to work together to help stamp out Alzheimer’s disease? Consider these facts from the Alzheimer’s Association:

  • More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s
  • Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States
  • 1 in 3 seniors die with Alzheimer’s or another dementia
  • Deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased by 89% since the year 2000
  • Every 66 seconds, someone in the United States develops the disease

Walk details:

When: Sunday September 24, 2017

Where: Midtown Crossing – Turner Park – 3220 Farnam St.

Time: Registration starts at 10:30, Walk begins at 12:00 pm

We hope to see you there!