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AARP Expert

Preventing Those with Dementia from Getting Lost Tip #3: Use GPS Tracking

I cared for my Dad, who had Alzheimers, most intensively from 2009 to 2018. When I got started GPS was not readily available to people, even towards the end it wasn't available like it is now. But GPS can be an incredible help and bring you peace of mind if you're concerned your loved one might go out and get lost. So I suggest you explore ways to use GPS tracking.


  • If your loved ones have a smartphone, ensure there is a GPS tracking system installed that you can access if you can’t find them, or if you need to track their progress when they travel alone. For example, use the Find My… app (iPhone, Apple watch, laptop, iPad, or an air tag that you’ve attached to keys or other items) feature on Apple devices, or Find My Device and Find My Friends on Android devices.



  • You can attach GPS trackers that don’t require a smartphone to clothing, keys, wallets, cars (in the trunk or underneath the bumper) or just about anywhere. Many have a peel and stick feature so you can stick a small tracker on easily.


  • There are shoes and shoe-sole inserts with embedded GPS too! 


  • Consider a medical alert device (or personal emergency response system — PERS), that has GPS capability so people can access help or be tracked wherever they go if they become lost.

Have you used an GPS devices to keep your loved ones safe? Tell us about your experience! 


Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Author, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving

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