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Finding the Person – Cell Phones with GPS

Major Benefits
GPS locating can be pinpoint accurate
View person's phone location on web-enabled computer or phone
Receive alert if set boundaries crossed (select GPS phones)

Major Drawbacks
Only works in some locations
Batteries need regular charging
Person must remember and agree to carry phone (or you conceal it on person)
Difficult to get accurate product info

More on GPS Services

Cell phones with GPS tracking abilities are still in their infancy and many wrinkles need to be ironed out before they can be useful across the board for people with dementia. Cell phones are best used with a live-in or nearby caregiver who can oversee maintenance and usage - and even this doesn't guarantee success. The problems are not insurmountable, but they need to be taken into consideration. For one, cell phones and GPS services are limited by location – you need to be close to cell towers to get good reception and GPS signals can be obstructed by mountains, trees, and tall buildings. Two, the batteries need to be charged on a regular basis and most people with dementia will not remember or know how to do this. Third, the person must agree and remember to carry the phone - or you'll need to conceal it on the person, which is easier said then done. Finally, getting accurate information on GPS technology and cell phones can be daunting.

Using GPS to track persons with dementia holds great promise for the future. But, even with its current limitations, it may be helpful to some individuals and families. Depending on the GPS services available in your area, you can view the person's location – as long as they're carrying the phone - on a web-enabled computer, cell phone, or personal digital assistant (PDA). On some models, you can set a defined area that the person can walk around in & then receive an alert if the boundary is crossed.

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