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.
So, I began my search for a personal tracking device for the elderly.
You can imagine that I was pretty excited when I heard about a smart shoe that could track people via a GPS system.
A GPS shoe for seniors has a GPS device / tracker inside the insoles that fit into a pair of 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!
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 themselves and 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.
What Is A Personal Tracking Device?
A personal tracking device is a small, lightweight tracking device that can be worn or carried by an individual.
It typically uses the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite technology to track the location of the person wearing or carrying it.
A wearable GPS device is typically used for safety purposes, such as in case of an emergency, or for monitoring the whereabouts of a child or elderly relative.
An example of this would be GPS tracking devices for kid’s shoes.
Some personal tracking devices also include features such as a panic button or a fall detector, which can be activated in case of an emergency.
The benefit of a hidden GPS tracker in shoes works best for older adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
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. The solution then, is to somehow hide it.
That’s where the GPS Smartsole product comes in handy. Placing the tracker in pairs of shoes is a perfect solution!
Simply place the GPS tracking shoe insole into an elderly parent’s footwear, activate the GPS locator on your smart phone and you’re all set!
As you can see in the video in the following section, the app features something similar to Google Maps, with location data pinpointing where your loved one is.
One 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 – has a key advantage. 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 the GTX Corporation, in conjunction with Aetrex Worldwide, 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, integrated 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 (they are in trim-to-fit sizes) 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 and recharges via a wireless charger.
You can also set it up to send real-time alerts via text and email 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 whereabouts.
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 $360.00 – a pretty small price to pay for peace of mind.
They have a required monthly data service plan for online tracking of your GPS smartsole.
It starts at about $30.00 per month, but there is no activation fee and no contract required. 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 Smart Sole 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.
How To Hide A GPS Tracker In Shoes?
The GPS tracking insole is placed into the shoe the same way a regular in sole is – by removing the shoe’s original insole, sizing the tracker insole, and sliding it into place in the inside bottom of the shoe.
Keep in mind that tracking someone without their consent is generally illegal and unethical.
That said, if you’re hiding a GPS tracker in someone’s shoes in the case of an elderly person with dementia, try to get their consent, but you may have to choose between getting it and the very real risk and danger of the person getting lost.
Here are the general steps on how to use this type of product:
Purchase a GPS SmartSole or similar device: These are insoles with a built-in GPS tracking device. They are designed to fit inside a shoe and be comfortable to wear.
Size the insole: If the insoles are too large for the shoe, they may need to be trimmed down. They often come in a ‘one size fits most’ format, with lines indicating where to cut for smaller sizes.
Activate and set up the insole: The GPS device will typically need to be activated and set up. This usually involves registering the product, setting up an account, and potentially downloading a companion app on a smartphone or computer.
Charge the insole: Most GPS insoles need to be charged regularly. The charging port is usually located on the side of the insole.
Insert the insole into the shoe: Once the insole is activated and charged, it can be inserted into the shoe just like any regular shoe insole.
Monitor the GPS signal: Using the companion app or website, you can monitor the location of the GPS insole in real-time.
Again, remember that tracking someone’s location without their consent is typically considered a breach of privacy and may be illegal. Always obtain the necessary permissions and use these devices responsibly.
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!
For example, Honda Japan has their Ashirase subsidiary working on development of their Ashirase shoes for those with visual impairments.
Honda’s GPS shoes will feature motion sensors and a vibration device that guides the person’s direction to allow them to walk more safely.
The vibration in these unique shoes is multi-directional, so if the wearer needs to make a left-hand turn, the sensor will vibrate on the left side of the foot.
Honda says, “Based on the route set with the app, the device vibrates to provide navigation. When the user should go straight, the vibrator positioned on the front part of the foot vibrates, and when the user is approaching a right or left turn, the vibrator on the right or left side vibrates to notify the user. The navigation provided by Ashirase enables intuitive understanding of the route, and therefore the user does not have to be constantly mindful of the direction, which makes it possible for the user to walk more safely and with a more relaxed state of mind.”
Here is a video about the shoes from the Your Future Car channel:
It’s exciting to think of what’s coming in the future!
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 a GPS smart tracker or tracker shoes 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!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it illegal to use a GPS tracker?
The legality of using a GPS tracker varies depending on the context and location. In the United States, each state has its own laws concerning the use of GPS trackers.
What can block a GPS tracker?
Blocking a GPS tracker can be achieved by disabling GPS or using a VPN on your phone, installing GPS spoofing apps, or turning off specific app permissions. For vehicles, regular checks for unauthorized trackers, parking in covered areas, and the use of signal jammers (where legal) are suggested. Lastly, wrapping a GPS device in aluminum foil can help disrupt signals, though it’s not foolproof.
Can police track your GPS location?
Yes, law enforcement agencies can potentially track your GPS location. They can obtain location data from telecommunications providers, often as part of criminal investigations. However, in many jurisdictions, they require a warrant or court order to do so, respecting privacy laws and rights. Additionally, police can use GPS trackers on vehicles in some situations, often again with legal oversight.