A GPS tracker is a simple but potentially lifesaving device that pinpoints a wearer’s location and allows loved ones or emergency services to track them down. These tracking devices are particularly useful for people suffering from dementia, providing the wearer with some much-needed support and giving their family members and care providers some peace of mind.
In this guide, we’ll showcase the best GPS tracking devices, while highlighting the features and benefits of these simple tools.
Why are GPS Trackers Needed?
As many as 60% of dementia sufferers will wander off at some point and many of them will go missing for several hours or days at a time.
In 2018, researchers from Australia conducted a study on the likelihood of dementia patients getting lost. They looked at 130 cases of missing dementia sufferers between 2011 and 2015 and found that only 71% were reported as found. Of these, 40% were reported as injured or dead.
That’s a scary statistic, and it’s not limited to Australia. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that nearly 6 million Americans are living with the disease and these figures are expected to rise as the number of seniors increases.
Not only are dementia sufferers more likely to go missing and come to harm, but they are also harder to find. If a child goes missing, it might go to a nearby police officer or member of the public and ask for help. It might be spotted looking lost and upset. As a result, it’s suggested that close to half of all missing children are found within 3 hours while 94% are found within 3 days.
For someone with dementia, the response is different. A member of the public may express concern if they see a child wandering on its lonesome, but they won’t think twice about a senior. Because dementia affects memory and causes forgetfulness, they are less likely to seek help and more likely to become disorientated and put themselves in harm’s way.
How to Find the Best GPS Tracker for You
GPS trackers come in many shapes and sizes, with a host of features that may prove essential or superfluous. Before making your choice, ask yourself the following questions:
What Features Do You Need?
Real-time tracking should come as standard, but there are many other features to consider. Is it waterproof, does it have an SOS button, how long is the battery life, and does it send text messages or email alerts?
Is it Wearable?
If you’re buying for elderly parents, ask yourself if they would actually wear or carry the device. Can it be worn/carried in a way that doesn’t irritate them or will they keep taking it off and leaving it behind?
The last thing you want is for them to go missing without wearing their tracker or to spend hours tracking them down just to realize it has been left on a bench somewhere.
How Much Does It Cost?
Many trackers require you to sign up for a monthly service plan, in addition to the cost of the device itself. This additional monthly fee is often just a few dollars, but you may need to sign a lengthy contract.
The Best GPS Trackers
Sites like Amazon sell a host of trackers and these range in size, type, and cost. Many of them look alike and provide the same benefits, others offer something a little different. To help you sort through this wide array of products, we have highlighted the best ones below. Many of them are sold on Amazon.com, and while some are sold elsewhere, they can all be purchased online.
Tracki GPS Tracker
A simple, lightweight GPS tracker that can track movement and log everything in real-time on a smartphone. It works with Android, iOS, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa, using cellular technology when outside and Wi-Fi when indoors.
The tracker is available for less than $30 and there is a monthly fee ranging from $9.95 to $19.95 depending on the type of plan you purchase.
An international SIM card is included with your online order and you can also purchase an additional battery and water-resistant box if required.
AngelSense Elderly GPS Tracker
AngelSense is a super-premium device with a super-premium price tag, but it offers features and a degree of reliability that you won’t get anywhere else.
AngelSense began by focusing on children with special needs and has since moved into the elderly space, aiming its products towards customers with Alzheimer’s Disease and their caregivers.
It’s wearable, promises to be “non-removable,” and it provides live GPS location updates throughout the day. It has a long battery life, speakerphone, email alerts, and more.
You can buy the AngelSense directly from the company’s website. There are three plans available, costing up to $39.99 a month.
SpyTec GL300 GPS
With a battery that lasts for up to 2 and a half weeks, the SpyTec tracking system promises not to let you down when you need it. It’s reliable, sturdy, and well made, but it’s also a little more expensive than the number 1 GPS location device on our list. It costs around $40 initially and then nearly $25 per month.
A simple device that attaches to a keychain and contains an SOS button along with reliable location tracking. This mini GPS tracker connects to your iPhone or Android phone and allows for the creation of geo-fencing, also known as “safe zones.” When the user passes into or out of these locations, it will send an alert through the smartphone app.
The PocketFinder also sends low battery alerts.
It’s a little expensive, costing $169 per unit at the time of writing, but the monthly cost is much lower than other premium, full-featured trackers, costing less than $13 per month.
How to Find the Best Trackers
Look at user reviews and brand profiles to determine the effectiveness of the product and the legitimacy of its manufacturer. Don’t just focus on the features and the price, especially when you’re using sites like Amazon.
For instance, we’ve seen many recommendations for products like the Yepzon One Personal Locator, which seems to have been replaced by the Yepzon Smart Tracker. In both cases, the reviews are concerning, with many complaints about battery life and some users suggesting it didn’t last longer than a few hours.
Bad reviews don’t always tell the whole story, but until the good ones outnumber the bad ones, it’s a risk you might want to avoid, especially when that product is more expensive than its well-reviewed rivals.