GPS trackers: Is there a device that can be worn in a hat to track a loved one who wanders?

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Is there a device that can be worn in a hat to track a loved one who wanders?

Question

I’m aware there are GPS-enabled devices that can help caregivers keep track of loved ones who wander, but I don’t know where to find information about them. Specifically, we are interested in knowing if there are any devices that can be placed into a hat for a patient who does not like to wear jewellery but takes their hat out everywhere.

Our answer

GPS-enabled devices can allow for safer wandering, but there not are many products to choose from. It can be particularly difficult to choose while still trying to respect the preference of your patient, client or loved one. For example, many of the popular devices would be too bulky to fit comfortably in a hat. We have identified some smaller devices that could be attached to a hat, and a couple of other wearables that might be of interest.

  • LightBug Zero by Lightbug Ltd is a small GPS tracker with a long battery life. It locates itself using both satellites and Wi-Fi networks and sends the information to the corresponding mobile app over the mobile phone network. It costs about £90 (GBP), plus a data plan cost of about £5 a month. While based in England, the service is available to Canadians.
  • iTraq by iTraq inc. is a small GPS-enabled device with an additional SOS button. It comes with a global SIM card and a wireless charging station. It costs $129 (U.S.) plus a subscription fee of about $6 a month or $60 a year. Although based in the U.S., the service is available to Canadians.
  • PocketFinder by Location Based Technologies is a keyring-size GPS enabled device with an SOS button. The corresponding app shows the location of the device on a map and the user can set “geo-fences” to be alerted when the device enters or leaves a given area. It costs about $160 (U.S.) plus a monthly service plan of $13. Although based in the U.S., the service is available to Canadians.

Wearables:

  • AngleSense offers GPS-enabled devices that can be attached as a pocket sleeve, a waist belt, or in a shirt pocket. The device costs about $100 (U.S.) plus a plan ranging in cost from about $33 to $53.
  • GPS-Smartsole by GTX Corp (available form SafeTracks GPS Canada) is a GPS-enabled device housed an insole that is inserted into a shoe. It costs about $300 (U.S.) plus a service plan between about $15 and $25 a month.

It is important that the ethical impacts of using GPS to track someone should be taken into consideration. If possible, the decision to be tracked should be made in collaboration with the individual, and consent should be obtained (from them or their substitute decision maker).

For more information on this issue, you may want to read an article from the National Institutes of Health in the U.S.

 

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