Keeping track of a family member can be as simple as getting them to put on their shoes (or slippers). GTX Corporation has two versions of their SmartSole products, one for indoor use, and one for outdoors.
The indoor insoles rely on low-power Bluetooth LE to wirelessly communicate their location within a home. A small CUBE gateway is plugged into an electrical outlet to communicate the information via WiFi to the cloud service that tracks the person. The system can be set to sent a text or email alert to a caregiver if the person enters or leaves specific locations. The low power design means that the insoles can last from a year to 18 months before the battery dies. They cannot be recharged; you need to replace them. The insoles cost $49, plus a monthly service plan fee.
The outdoor system relies on GPS, and the insoles have a GPS tracker built in. It also uses cellular data service to report the person’s location to the cloud service. These devices are rechargeable; you just place them on the wireless inductive charging pad every three to five days. You can set up multiple boundaries that can trigger text or email alerts. You also can view the person’s location at any time using an app on your mobile device or through a website portal. The GPS version costs $299, plus a monthly service plan fee.
These devices are simple and unobtrusive, and they make it easier to keep tabs on a person with Alzheimer’s or some other condition that might make them prone to wandering off and not being able to find their way back. Unlike some other tracking options, they do not offer any way for the person to communicate with the service, such as an emergency button that can be used to summon help. Still, they could be the right technology for some situations.