How to Safely Monitor Aging Parents with GPS Trackers & Apps in 2024

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Track Elderly Parents

As parents enter their golden years, keeping tabs on daily activities becomes crucial for ensuring safety and well-being. However, tracking elderly loved ones requires careful navigation of legal, ethical and relationship considerations.

This in-depth guide provides expert tips for respectfully monitoring aging family members using phone apps and dedicated GPS devices in 2024.

Aging Parents & Wandering: When to Start Tracking

Best Gps Trackers For Tracking Elderly Parents

Typically between ages 60-75, older adults undergo natural yet concerning declines in mental sharpness, physical ability and overall functionality. Key warning signs it may be time to start location tracking include:

Mental Decline

  • Increased confusion and disorientation
  • Frequently getting lost in familiar places
  • Difficulty following conversations or instructions

Physical Challenges

  • Falls and unexplained bruising
  • Trouble managing medications and doses
  • Reduced mobility limiting daily independence

Behavioral Changes

  • Neglecting personal care and hygiene
  • Missing important appointments
  • Making uncharacteristic financial mistakes

Noticing one or more of these red flags means it’s time to discuss implementing GPS monitoring to protect your aging parent or relative. The best GPS trackers for the elderly can provide peace of mind in these situations.

The short answer is yes, tracking elderly family members is legal with their express knowledge and consent. A few important guidelines:

  • The senior must be clearly notified about the specific type of monitoring
  • They must voluntarily agree to and permit the tracking
  • Written authorization is best, but verbal consent is acceptable
  • Secretly recording conversations or movements is illegal without consent

Ethically, surveilling older loved ones requires sensitivity to three key principles:

  1. Autonomy: Monitoring should preserve independence as much as possible
  2. Dignity: Respect privacy and freedom by only tracking essentials
  3. Trust: Maintain an open, collaborative approach to avoid undermining relationships

Balancing safety and autonomy is an ongoing process. But experts agree involving the senior in decisions is critical.

How to Discuss Location Tracking with Elderly Parents

Transitioning into location monitoring requires finesse and empathy. Some insider tips:

Have Gradual, Honest Talks

Introduce the concept of tracking over multiple conversations before making changes. This prevents the senior feeling ambushed or cornered.

Involve Them in Choices

Evaluating monitoring options together gives aging parents a voice and preserves dignity. Invite questions, address concerns thoroughly and make collaborative decisions.

Focus on Benefits

Emphasize how GPS tracking enables continued independence by ensuring prompt help if needed. Position it as a safety net, not a restriction.

Set Clear Boundaries

Detail exactly what, when and how tracking will occur. Commit to data minimization and confidentiality.

Start Small

Begin with basic location check-ins and expand only if concerns arise. Regularly assess the senior’s changing needs together.

Remember, your role is partner and guide, not dictator. Transparency builds trust.

Best Practices for Monitoring Aging Loved Ones

Implement GPS tracking for elderly relatives thoughtfully with these expert recommendations:

Choose User-Friendly Designs

Whether a smartphone app or wearable device, prioritize simple interfaces and intuitive controls suited to the senior’s abilities.

Customize Alert Settings

Look for features like geofencing, unusual activity notifications and fall detection to stay apprised of potential issues.

Prioritize Battery Life

Seek out devices and apps with extended battery life and easy charging to minimize maintenance demands on the elder.

Provide Patient Support

Offer setup assistance, ongoing troubleshooting and regular check-ins to ensure the senior feels confident with the technology.

Stay Flexible

As the loved one’s needs evolve, adjust tracking arrangements accordingly through open dialogue. Monitoring is a dynamic process.

Top GPS Phone Tracking Apps for Seniors in 2024

Top Phone Apps For Tracking Elderly Loved Ones

For tech-savvy elders, smartphone apps offer an affordable, user-friendly monitoring option. Leading solutions include:

AppKey FeaturesPrice
Life360Real-time location, crisis alerts, check-insFree-$8/mo
AngelSenseDementia-friendly wearable, caregiver updates$40-60/mo
JiobitAttachable to clothing, nationwide range$8-13/mo

When selecting an app, consider the senior’s comfort with technology, desired features and battery life impact. You can compare two leading options in our AngelSense vs Jiobit analysis.

Best GPS Devices for Monitoring Elderly Parents in 2024

For aging adults adverse to smartphones, dedicated GPS wearables and trackers offer a more accessible solution. Top picks deliver:

DeviceBattery LifeTop AttributesCost
AngelSense1-3 daysBuilt for memory loss, 2-way voice$100 + $40-53/mo
Jiobit5-7 daysDiscreet, showerproof, US coverage$130 + $8-13/mo
GizmoWatch2-5 daysStep tracking, call button, 24/7 monitoring$30-40/mo

Assess the loved one’s specific needs and abilities when choosing a device. Prioritize long battery life, simple charging, durability, coverage range and bonus safety features like SOS buttons. Our guides to the best Jiobit alternatives and helpful Jiobit accessories provide further insights.

For younger seniors, the Gabb Watch is another user-friendly option worth considering.

Key Takeaways

  • Mental, physical and behavioral changes signal when to start GPS tracking
  • Location monitoring is legal and ethical with clear senior consent and ongoing collaboration
  • Choose simple, user-friendly apps or wearables tailored to the elder’s capacities
  • Prioritize devices with extended battery life, easy charging and added safety features
  • Involve aging parents in tracking decisions and only monitor need-to-know information to protect dignity
  • Regularly reevaluate arrangements together as the senior’s abilities and needs evolve


Can I legally track my parent with dementia who can no longer consent? If you are their designated legal guardian or have power of attorney, typically yes with added supervision. Consult an elder law professional to ensure compliance.

How do I monitor my aging parent who refuses to allow it? Revisit the conversation gradually with a focus on specific safety concerns. Hear their reservations and problem-solve together. If all else fails, enlist the help of their physician or a geriatric counselor to discuss risks.

What’s the simplest GPS tracker for non-tech-savvy seniors? AngelSense and Jiobit provide user-friendly wearables designed for elders with dementia or limited tech skills. GizmoWatch offers an all-in-one smartwatch solution.

Will Medicare or insurance cover the cost of GPS devices? While Medicare generally doesn’t pay for trackers, some private or supplemental plans may with a doctor’s order. Long-term care policies sometimes reimburse for safety devices too.

How can I tell if my elderly parent is at risk for wandering? Look for warning signs like confusion, disorientation, restlessness, difficulty following instructions and decreased situational awareness. Consult their doctor for a cognitive assessment.

What should I do if a GPS tracker shows my parent is lost or in danger? Call them directly if possible to assess the situation. If unresponsive, alert local authorities with their location for a welfare check. Then head to the site yourself or send a trusted contact.

How accurate are GPS trackers for seniors with dementia? Top wearables deliver real-time location data within a few feet in most cases. Accuracy may decrease slightly in densely populated urban areas or underground spaces.

What happens if my parent’s tracking device gets lost or damaged? Most GPS tracker plans include free or low-cost device replacement. Always keep a spare on hand and have a backup communication plan in place.

Are there any health risks to wearing a GPS tracker long-term? Reputable GPS trackers emit very low levels of non-ionizing radiation with no known adverse effects. Some seniors with skin sensitivities may experience irritation from certain wearable materials.

How can I reduce the guilt of tracking my aging parent? Remember, you’re acting from a place of profound care, not control. A comprehensive monitoring plan maximizes your parent’s independence and minimizes your fear. Focus on the freedom GPS tracking affords your family.

With the right mix of empathy, transparency and consent, GPS tracking allows you to be the safety net that empowers your aging parent or relative to maintain cherished independence. Staying watchful and agile together ensures they’ll get the right support at the right time, every time.

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