Naturally, our parents mean the world to us, and as they grow older, we begin to search for ways in which we can look after them in the best way. This desire is commonly experienced after the death of one parent leading to the other aging parent living alone. Life is so hectic sometimes that you may not always be able to check in or visit.
As per the CDC, in the United States, one in four adults aged 65 and older falls yearly. The morbidity rates among the elderly above 65 years due to these falls have surged by about 30% from 2009 to 2018.
The Alzheimers association reports that 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, this number is estimated to reach 13 million. Unfortunately, this data means that 1 in 3 seniors will die from Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
GPSTracker247 brings you tips for elderly care and safety.
Caregivers’ Tips and Tricks
So, how do we play an active role in an aging parent’s life without making them feel like a burden or dependent on us?
Begin with the below slowly:
- A daily phone call: More often than not, elderly parents tend to feel isolated. They go out less and spend most of the day cooped up at home. A call from you or even the older grandkids is all that is needed to brighten up their day and make them feel special. As a caregiver, this benefits you as the call will act as a sign of their well-being. If they do not pick up or if they do not sound so good, you can swiftly take action.
- Dropping off some food or arranging for meals: Aging parents will rarely take the trouble to cook a full-course meal. They will instead try to find whatever is available to munch on when hungry. This scenario is also present in the case of a single aging parent. These unhealthy eating habits can take a toll on their health in the long run. So drop off some premade food weekly, or arrange with a local organization to drop off meals daily.
- Arrange for help: In cases where you can afford to hire some help, go for it. A helper would be able to assist with meal prep or make a few simple dishes for your parents. They can also do a few errands, such as picking up groceries and dry cleaning. Hiring a helper would also ensure that your parent has someone to talk to.
- Home Accessibility: Most of our parents are emotionally attached to all their furniture and furnishings and can become hoarders. This habit is dangerous and can lead to clutter within the home, thus making basic tasks like walking indoors burdensome. Speak to your parents and clear up the mess so that the hallways and other paths are clean and clutter-free. Ensure that the home is well-lit to avoid trips and falls.
All of the above tips help alleviate some fears about parents living alone. However, what happens if you are too far away and cannot do any of the above, or even if you live in the same state but not as close as you would like?
In such cases, technologies and devices that help with elder care come to the rescue.
What Are Some Of These Devices?
As the name implies, senior monitors are devices that can be placed in required areas. These devices have a camera attached to them. The video can be viewed on your phone or laptop in real-time, thus enabling you to rush to the senior’s aid immediately in case of a fall or any other dangerous event.
Though unconventional, baby monitors are the perfect tool to monitor elders. They work well for those with Dementia and Alzheimers, where it is unsafe to leave them unsupervised for a long time.
Motion sensors are another great tool to monitor the elderly as they can be strategically placed in high-traffic areas within the home. These sensors can monitor activity during a particular time, and if no activity occurs in that period, it sends out an alert.
Fall Prevention Monitors
As seen from the data above, falls are common in the elderly. Seniors mostly trip over rugs and other bric-a-brac left on the floor. They may also stumble over wet surfaces and stairs. Fall prevention monitors are a great advantage as they can send a distress signal immediately when the person falls.
In addition to the above, we also have portable GPS tracking devices. These tiny, discreetly designed tracking devices can be placed anywhere on your senior person. As they are GPS enabled, it is easy for a family member or caregiver to keep track of their parent all the time, irrespective of where they might be.
For many seniors, driving is freedom, and they do not want to give it up. In such cases, rather than be worried about their whereabouts and if they have been in an accident or worse, a portable GPS tracker attached to the vehicle will let you know their location in real time. These devices also enable you to set a speed limit and decide a regular route. If the person drives over the speed limit or brakes hard, or even if they venture out of the specified path, you will be alerted of any dangerous behavior or patterns in advance.
Seniors should be encouraged to go for walks and socialize with their peers in the park. Allow them to do so with ease with the use of the portable GPS tracker. This tracker can be discreetly placed on their person in a bracelet, necklace, belt, or watch. You can put it in their purse or handbag or attach it to any other accessory. Not only does it share their real-time location with the caregiver, but it can also alert you if they venture out of a set specified area.
When forgetfulness sets in
Seniors are prone to forgetting things, such as what they had for meals and where they have left personal belongings. They often forget the names of the faces they have known for ages. While these are all signs of natural decline, the main danger occurs when forgetfulness can lead to harm, such as forgetting where you are and wandering off. A GPS tracker will alert a caregiver when the senior leaves a specified safe area, thus helping to track them down.
We curated a list of the 7 best GPS tracker smartwatches for the elderly. Read here
What Features Must Senior GPS Tracker Have?
If you are looking only to track your senior family member, you can choose any portable GPS tracker from all the available choices in the market. However, if you want a device that offers added security and other features to make your elderly’s life easy, here are a few things to consider.
- Comfort – Go anywhere in the world, every senior retired person will admit that all they want is comfort. They would rather sit on their favorite couch than move around using a walker. That is why the GPS tracker you choose must not be a bother to them. Get a device that is small in size and can be placed in their pocket or attached to a belt.
- Battery-life – Most portable trackers come with a rechargeable battery that can last long, depending on how frequently you want the location updates. For example, if your senior stays alone at home, do not have mobility issues, and can drive themselves around, you might want to get location updates every hour to ensure their safety. However, if your elderly is in the care home, under the supervision of well-trained staff, you can choose to get location updates once a day. Go for a GPS tracker that can go weeks without charging to avoid bothering your senior.
- Safety features – A lot of GPS tech vendors offer additional safety features like geofencing, aggressive tracking, 911 escalation, SOS, motion alerts, and more. With the help of these add-ons, you can create a virtual fence around places they frequent, share the latest real-time location with emergency services, activate faster location updates in case of emergencies, and get notified when your senior needs you.
- Seamless companion app – GPS tracking solution is meant to make it easier and more peaceful for your elderly and you. Choose a vendor that offers an intuitive app, compatible with Android and iOS devices. You can also ask your friends and other family members to download the app and check on the senior.
- Subscription – There are some GPS trackers that come with a longer subscription, which means that you might get stuck with a device that you do not like. So choose a company that offers flexible plans. For example, Family1st has monthly and yearly plans, but you can activate and cancel the same as and when you want, without any extra charges.
- Connectivity – Our elder family members can be fidgety at times. One moment they are in their room, and soon you will find them going out on a walk. Your GPS tracker must give accurate location updates in any case. We suggest getting a tracker that comes with multiple connectivity features like Wi-Fi and sim data.
- Waterproof – We always suggest getting a waterproof tracker for kids and the elderly. They might not be able to take good care of the device, so it is best to choose a sturdy and strong tracker that can withstand all the abuse your elderly gives it.
If a portable GPS tracking device is what you are looking for, then look no further than the one offered by Family1st. Not only does it do all of the above, but it also offers several other benefits, like a lifetime warranty.
Our parents growing old is inevitable, yet constant worry about their well-being and health plagues us. At this stage, ensuring they are happy, healthy, and well cared for is all that should matter. Be proactive towards this by purchasing portable trackers that will keep our minds at ease and our parents safe from mishaps and harm, thus ensuring a better quality of life.