Wandering in Dementia: Keyring Tracker GPS Solution or Baggage?
“Do keyring trackers actually help with wandering? Are keyring trackers discrete and durable? Should I get a keyring tracker for my loved one with dementia?”
I have so many questions …
And so do you. You’re probably wondering yourself whether they’re an answer to dementia-related wandering. Are they?
Well, to help you figure this out, I am sharing five reasons why I think keyring trackers are a good solution for your Nanny, just like mine.
As you go through my ideas, you’ll also learn:
- Why keyring trackers are so popular
- How keyring trackers facilitate collaborative care
- What to look for in a high-quality keyring tracker
- Where to buy the best GPS dementia-wandering trackers
1 - Keyring Trackers Address Dementia-Related Stigma
Yes. Dementia can be stigmatising.
People diagnosed with the condition are often assumed to be mentally challenged and are thus discriminated for it.
As such, conspicuous monitoring or tracking devices, which instantly give away that an individual has dementia, inadvertently expose patients to stigma and discourage their use.
However, with 60% of dementia patients likely to wander or get lost, monitoring devices are essential.
With such a high prevalence of people being worried I decided to develop a new way of monitoring via keyring trackers.
Keyring trackers can address dementia-related stigma by providing support to people with dementia, promoting awareness, and fostering understanding among the general public.
While these devices cannot eliminate stigma entirely, they can help create a more inclusive environment for those living with dementia, including my own grandmother.
Below are 5 ways that I believe keyring trackers could help your loved ones:
- Empowering individuals with dementia: Keyring trackers can help those with dementia maintain their independence by ensuring they can easily find important items like keys, wallets, or phones.
The tracker is so small that it is easily attached and won’t get in the way. In my opinion, this is one of its best features.
In turn, this can easily reduce unhelpful feelings of anxiety and helplessness, leading to increased self-confidence and a more positive self-image for the wearer.
- Providing reassurance to caregivers: Caregivers can feel more at ease knowing that their loved ones have access to a tool that helps them stay organised and reduces the risk of losing important items.
There’s nothing quite as frustrating as forgetting where I left my wallet, only to find it under a cushion on the couch.
So, I want you to know that this type of reassurance can lead to better relationships between caregivers and people with dementia, as well as a more positive outlook on the condition overall.
- Raising awareness: The use of keyring trackers—and the fact that they’re obviously worn around your neck—can spark conversations about dementia and its challenges, which in turn can help to normalise the condition and raise awareness within your own community of family and friends.
This has been particularly important for my family and I as we navigated this tricky situation.
- Encouraging empathy and understanding: As more people become familiar with the benefits of keyring trackers for those living with dementia, they may be more likely to empathize with the challenges that these individuals face.
- Promoting a supportive environment: By making it easier for people with dementia to participate in daily activities and maintain their independence, they are less likely to feel isolated.
Keyring trackers contribute to a more inclusive and supportive environment, and I want every family to feel the same way we do.
By using discrete keyring trackers, you can go some way to solving the problems caused by dementia.
Here’s one such keyring tracker by TechSilver that features many attachment options to ensure maximum discretion. The tracker is wearable as:
- A keyring
- A pendant around the neck
- Bag or pocket clip
Also, this tracker is barely noticeable with its compact size of 38 × 38 mm and features different colour options to seamlessly blend with any outfit you or your loved one may be wearing.
2 - Keyring Trackers Address Confused Wandering
Individuals with dementia often experience confusion. I have first-hand experience of this with my Nanny.
During this state, they can’t think clearly or recognise what’s happening around them, which causes them to wander in search of familiarity.
As a result, they won’t realise that they’re lost or think to contact emergency services or their carers.
When this happens, their rescue depends on local authorities, neighbours, and other close contacts.
But what happens when wandering leads to distant locations where your loved one is virtually unknown? Perhaps out of town?
I have seen elderly people standing at ‘fake’ bus stops. They know they’re on their way to somewhere, but I know they’re not.
Confused wandering is a common behaviour in people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. As such, keyring trackers can address this issue by helping to keep individuals safe and providing peace of mind to their caregivers.
If your person is subject to confused wandering then a keyring tracker may help by offering the following benefits:
- Real-time location tracking: Some keyring trackers come equipped with GPS or other location tracking technologies. This allows caregivers or family members to monitor the person’s whereabouts in real-time through a smartphone app or computer. I always have my phone on me so this was perfect for my needs.
If the individual with dementia starts to wander, the caregiver can quickly locate them and guide them back to safety.
Geofencing: Advanced keyring trackers may also offer a geofencing feature, which allows caregivers to establish a virtual boundary around a specific area.
If the person with dementia goes beyond this pre-defined area, the caregiver will receive an alert, enabling them to respond quickly and ensure the person’s safety.
- Audible alarms: Some keyring trackers can be set to emit an audible alarm if the person with dementia moves too far from their designated area or if they press a button on the tracker.
This can help alert nearby people, who can then assist in guiding the person back to safety.
- Reduced anxiety: Knowing that their loved one is carrying a keyring tracker can help reduce anxiety and stress for caregivers.
This brought peace of mind to my family and allowed us to feel more confident in our ability to manage wandering incidents with Nanny.
- Encouraging independence: By providing a means to track and locate a person with dementia, keyring trackers can help support their independence and allow them to participate in activities that might otherwise be restricted due to concerns about wandering.
Yes! I know that this will be reassuring news to many of you reading this article.
- Data collection and analysis: Some keyring trackers can collect data about wandering patterns and behaviors, which can then be analyzed by caregivers or healthcare professionals.
This information can be used to better understand the person’s needs and develop strategies to minimise wandering risks.
You’ll need a portable keyring tracker with an unlimited tracking range, long battery life, and frequent location updates to ensure a safe return.
This keyring tracker by TechSilver features:
- Up to 5-day battery life to give you a lengthy tracking window during an emergency situation
- Unlimited tracking range (anywhere in the UK & Europe) to improve your chances of finding your loved one
- Frequent location updates (from every 60 seconds) for accurate real-time monitoring of your loved one
- Rugged build to ensure the device withstands even the toughest conditions
- 24/7 support to ensure the device is always in working order
“Purchased the GPS tracker for my aunt who suffers from dementia. Very accurate tracking system and great features in locating her.”
— Louise P
3 - Keyring Trackers Address Isolated Monitoring
One of the biggest challenges of isolated monitoring is that the carer can’t always be there to prevent wandering, which can happen at any time with the possibility of serious injury or death.
Keyring trackers solve this problem by enabling a more collaborative approach to care. They provide insight into wandering patterns and locations, aiding in the development of a cooperative wandering action plan; for instance, a plan featuring emergency contacts close to where your loved one often visits.
What is a Wandering Action Plan?
A wandering action plan is a proactive strategy designed to minimise risks associated with wandering behaviour in individuals with dementia or other cognitive impairments.
The plan helps caregivers and family members manage and prevent wandering incidents while ensuring the safety of their loved ones. The key components of a wandering action plan can include:
Identifying triggers and patterns: Observe and document any patterns or triggers that may cause wandering, such as times of day, specific locations, or particular events.
Securing the environment: Take measures to secure the living environment by installing locks on doors and windows, using childproof doorknob covers, setting up alarms or chimes to alert when doors are opened, and creating a safe and secure outdoor area if possible.
Establishing routines: Develop a daily routine to provide structure and familiarity, which can help reduce anxiety and restlessness that may contribute to wandering. Regular physical activity and mental stimulation can also help mitigate wandering behaviour.
Using technology: Purchase keyring trackers, GPS devices, or wearable tracking devices to monitor the location of the person with dementia. These tools can provide real-time location updates and send alerts if the individual leaves a predetermined safe zone.
Preparing identification: Ensure that the person with dementia wears identification, such as a medical ID bracelet or necklace, that includes their name, emergency contact information, and details about their cognitive condition. This can help first responders and community members provide assistance if needed.
Informing neighbours and community: Inform neighbours, local businesses, and community members about your loved one’s condition and wandering tendencies. Share a recent photograph and contact information, so they can contact you or emergency services if they spot the individual wandering.
Developing a response plan: In case of a wandering incident, have a response plan in place that includes a list of emergency contacts, steps to follow when searching for the missing person, and details of who to notify (such as local law enforcement or organisations like an Alzheimer’s Association in your local area).
Registering with local services: Register the person with dementia with local programs or services designed to help locate missing individuals, such as the local police department’s vulnerable persons registry.
By having a comprehensive wandering action plan in place, caregivers and family members can minimize risks associated with wandering and be better prepared to respond effectively if an incident occurs.
Keyring trackers also enable collaborative monitoring through multi-user tracking applications. The device transmits its GPS coordinates directly to the tracking app, allowing family, friends, and anybody with access to keep tabs on your loved one.
Here’s one such tracking app by TechSilver that doesn’t limit the number of people who can check up on your loved one. It also works across platforms to minimise barriers to accessibility:
4 - Keyring Trackers Are a Proactive Solution
Approximately 24 million people around the world have dementia and, by 2050, this number is expected to rise to 106 million.
With the possibility of 60% of this population wandering, there’s a growing need for more preventative solutions, such as keyring trackers with geofencing capabilities.
Keyring trackers let you create a predesignated safe zone for your loved ones and notify you when they enter or leave the area.
When your loved one steps outside the safe area, the tracker sends you an alert to ensure you can respond right away.
You can now be proactive with your methods by following these steps:
Early intervention: Keyring trackers with GPS capabilities allow caregivers to monitor the real-time location of their loved ones, enabling them to intervene quickly if the person starts wandering or is in an unsafe area. This early intervention can prevent dangerous situations or accidents from happening.
Reducing the risk of losing essential items: By attaching keyring trackers to important items like keys, wallets, or phones, people with dementia can easily locate these items using the tracker’s accompanying app or sound alerts. This reduces the likelihood of losing essential items and helps maintain their daily routines and independence.
Establishing safe zones: Some keyring trackers have geofencing capabilities, allowing caregivers to set up safe zones around the individual’s home or other familiar areas. If the person with dementia wanders outside of these predefined boundaries, the caregiver will receive an alert, allowing them to act promptly and ensure the safety of their loved one.
Encouraging independence: Keyring trackers help people with dementia maintain their independence by enabling them to find and keep track of essential items without relying on others. This proactive approach can contribute to improved self-confidence and a better quality of life.
Providing peace of mind: Knowing that a keyring tracker is in place can give both the person with dementia and their caregivers peace of mind, knowing that they have a proactive tool to prevent wandering incidents or the loss of important items.
Raising awareness: The use of keyring trackers can also raise awareness about dementia and its challenges, leading to greater understanding and empathy among the general public. This can help to promote a more inclusive environment for those living with dementia.
Below is one such tracker that lets you create multiple safe zones of up to 5 km wide and alerts multiple people should the device leave the safe zone.
This means you, your family, and any carers can rely on the same safe zone for monitoring.
It’s an excellent way to help your loved one in a way which respects their dignity and independence.
5 - Keyring Trackers Are Fast-Acting
In a recent survey, 2,000 people with loved ones who have dementia were asked how they responded to wandering incidents. 84% of them mentioned that they rely on GPS devices such as keyring trackers.
These devices are much faster at locating a lost loved one than other means, such as asking neighbours or friends and physically looking around.
Keyring trackers can help you retrieve items quickly. Much better than spending hours crawling around on your hands and knees looking for things under the furniture!
They’re designed to help users find misplaced items, such as keys, wallets, or phones, within a short period.
By using Bluetooth or radio frequency technology, keyring trackers can send signals to the accompanying app on a smartphone or emit a sound, guiding the user to the item’s location swiftly. Super handy!
For instance, TechSilver’s keyring tracker provides location updates every minute, enabling you to respond to directional changes as soon as they occur.
This effectiveness is why trackers are part of the police-recommended Herbert Protocol—a set of measures designed to intervene early and assist in the recovery of vulnerable persons who’ve wandered or gone missing.
These measures help the police narrow down a search and speed up recovery.
Make Their Later Years More Independent With Technology
At TechSilver, we understand that technology holds the key to improving the quality of later life. In the UK, technology can help almost a quarter of the population—predicted to be over the age of 65 by 2035—live independent, happy lives.
This is why we are committed to providing the best in assistive technologies; from keyring trackers to fall detectors and easy-to-use mobile phones.
Our care devices come with:
- Expert tech support that’s available seven days a week, including bank holidays
- Multiple contact options including email, live chat, and phone
- Quick response with most issues addressed within an hour
- Free easy-to-follow setup videos
It’s also important to note that our devices don’t have a set-up fee. All we charge is a small subscription fee to cover data charges, phone calls, and access to the GPS tracking software.
Visit our store today to learn more about how we can help your closest ones.
Frequently Asked Questions
What signal do GPS keyring trackers use?
GPS trackers use the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) network. This network uses a variety of satellites to deliver microwave signals to GPS receivers, which provide data on location, speed, time, and direction.
At what stage of dementia does wandering occur?
Dementia-related wandering occurs in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s, where individuals experience confusion, memory loss, and possibly even delusions.
Wandering can occur at any stage of dementia, but it is more common during the middle (moderate) stage when confusion and disorientation become more pronounced and noticeable.
At this stage, family and friends may have difficulty recognising familiar surroundings or remembering the purpose of their actions, which can lead to wandering as they try to make sense of their environment or search for something familiar.
It can be an upsetting time for everyone involved.
However, it’s important to note that wandering behaviour can vary significantly among individuals and may not be present in every person with dementia.
The following table compares the various stages of dementia, characteristics and care needs as wandering increases.
|Stage||Characteristics||Support and Care Needs|
|Early (Mild)||Memory lapses, such as forgetting names or misplacing items||Encourage independence, provide memory aids, establish routines, and promote social engagement|
|Middle (Moderate)||Increased confusion, trouble recognizing people, difficulty with daily tasks||Simplify tasks, provide supervision, maintain a safe environment, and ensure proper nutrition|
|Late (Severe)||Loss of ability to communicate, problems with motor functions, difficulty recognizing loved ones||Focus on comfort, provide assistance with daily care, monitor safety, and consider specialized care settings|
|Advanced||Severe cognitive decline, inability to move independently, difficulty swallowing||Provide full assistance with daily activities, maintain dignity, and offer palliative care|
|End of Life||Complete dependency, minimal responsiveness, and increased susceptibility to infections||Provide comfort care, manage pain, offer emotional support, and involve hospice care if needed|
What are the early signs of wandering?
Common signs of wandering include:
- Losing track of how to get to familiar locations
- Returning from routine walks later than normal
- Attempting to get “home” even when at home
- Having trouble finding common locations, such as the bathroom, bedroom, or dining room
- Becoming nervous or anxious in new and crowded environments
Hi, I'm Miles
I’m the founder of TechSilver, the world’s leading assistive tech specialists. My team has made these resources to help people care for their loved ones, so we hope we can help you today!
Our Latest Product
Waterproof GPS Tracker
Want Free Tech Advice?
Sign up below and join thousands of others getting free tech advice & guidance!