Updated May 7, 2021 – After my mom passed away, my dad lived alone for a year in a lovely home but near a busy road. He enjoyed walking in the neighborhood for exercise and puttering around in the yard but I worried because the house hid most of the backyard, so if Dad fell, no one would know he was out there. Also, he was beginning to show signs of very mild dementia and that gave me some serious concern.
You can imagine that I was pretty excited when I heard about a smart shoe that could track people via GPS. A GPS shoe for seniors have a GPS device / tracker inside the insoles that fit into most shoes. They are great for seniors who have alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive disorders. Because they can’t be seen, the person enjoys their independence and doesn’t feel like they are being watched, yet family members know where they are.
Imagine a world without GPS tracking. We’d all be lost!
The satellite-based GPS technology has been around since the 1980’s, and it helps us find our way like never before by using information gathered from satellites to figure out your precise location on Earth.
The tracker market has exploded in recent years because everyone wants safety for those who need care. Nowadays these small devices have become almost like jewelry – which is quite amazing but if your senior loved one is constantly removing that wearable device or refuses to wear it then a hidden GPS tracker is a possible solution.
Hidden GPS Tracking Device For Elderly Parents
One of the biggest obstacles of using a GPS tracking device with seniors who have dementia or Alzheimer’s (or even if they don’t) is that they are visible objects like bracelets or necklaces or pins and they often get taken off by the user.
This of course, makes it useless. That’s where the GPS Smartsole product comes in handy.
The solution then, is to somehow hide it and placing the tracker in shoe insoles is a perfect solution! Simply place the GPS tracking soles inside the shoe, activate the app on your smart phone and you’re all set! As you can see in the video below – the app features something similar to Google Maps pinpointing where your loved one is.
The other obstacle that family caregivers face is that their senior loved ones may feel that this technology is invading their privacy. After all, how would you feel if you were told that you needed to wear a particular watch or necklace because your kid wants to keep an eye on you?
That’s why this new wearable technology – GPS shoes – are so cool – the person doesn’t see the hidden tracking device, so it helps to preserve their privacy and the dignity of the wearer.
GPS Shoes For Seniors
The GPS SmartSole created by GTX Corp. is great for those who have some memory impairment. This can include anyone from a forgetful parent all the way up to loved ones who have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and are slipping out and wandering.
These smart soles are patented insoles with a tiny, built in GPS tracker inside the pad. The tracker runs on a rechargeable battery that needs to be recharged about every 1-3 days. Under normal use, the GPS pads will last up to 30 months.
They fit into most shoes easily and feel like regular insoles so there is no concern that the device will bother tender feet.
Plus the individual doesn’t have to remember to take a tracker with them. They just put their shoes on and go. Since these devices are so unobtrusive, they work well for aging parents who may otherwise resist wearing a tracking device.
The GPS SmartSoles allow you to know the wearer’s location via your desktop web browser, tablet or through a smartphone app. You can also set it up to send text and email alerts if your parent leaves a certain area that has been defined on a map.
Another wonderful feature is the implementation of a “safety zone”. You set the parameters of your safety zone (let’s say 1 mile around your house). If the wearer wanders out of the designated area – the caregiver gets an alert on his/her phone along with the map and location of where their loved one is.
This is excellent for caregivers to use with dementia sufferers, alzheimer’s patients and even children.
Better yet, even if your elderly parents live in Portland, Maine and you live in Los Angeles, California – you can still track them and receive alerts of their wherabouts.
Will they fit your senior’s shoes? According to their website, the inserts “come in 3 trim to fit sizes for kids, teens and adults. Size Small can trim down to a kid’s size 3, but may fit best in a “wide” shoe. While the length of the toe area for each size can be trimmed; the width may not be trimmed. Due to the size of the technology within the insole, these are the minimum sizes for GPS SmartSole at this time.”
As of the time of this writing, these smart insoles retail for around $300.00 – a small price to pay for peace of mind. They offer two monthly service plans starting at about $30.00 per month but there is no activation fee. They run on 2G cellular technology.
Also on the horizon? A different company is in the process of making shoelace GPS trackers! We’re excited to see how they work once they hit the market (they’re still in the development stage).
Similar to the GPS SmartSole insoles, the shoelace trackers would provide effortless tracking once they were in place. The senior would not have to remember to bring a device along – they would simply lace up and go.
The Future Of Wearable Technology
There’s no doubt that technology is here to stay and that it’s growing exponentially. This can be a wonderful thing for seniors and their families!
Wearable sensors can play a major role in predicting, preventing or monitoring the progression of an ailment. They can be used to track people with dementia or Alzheimer’s that wander, they can monitor weight, gait and activity which are all indicators of something being wrong if there is a big shift from a baseline number. Example if a senior gains or loses a lot of weight in a short period of time, if their activity level drops off, if their gait changes- all of this could be an indicator of, early onset of cognitive decline, a stroke, at risk of falling, adverse effect from new medication, onset of diabetes.
Monitoring these biometric readings in real time without having to go to a doctors office, changes healthcare from being reactive to proactive.Patrick Bertagna – CEO of GTX Corp
While you will definitely feel better if you can keep track of your parent, do remember that GPS tracking shoes for elderly loved ones won’t keep the person from getting lost in the first place so it’s not a substitute for making their environment as safe as possible and preventing them from wandering in the first place.
But we understand that it’s hard to keep tabs on loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s and keep them safe from potentially dangerous situations. Sometimes they wander off and can be difficult to find, especially in rural areas where there are fewer people around.
The GPS Smartsole is a new product that does the work for you by tracking your senior’s location via their shoe – without them having to wear anything extra! With these tracker insoles, it doesn’t matter if they get lost in an unfamiliar place because you’ll always know where they are – which can make your life easier as caregivers.
We hope that we’ve helped make sense of how GPS technology could help keep your senior loved one safer!