Dear Donna:

My grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease about ten months ago. We lived several hours apart, so he recently moved in with me and my family. We felt it was the best way to keep him healthy and safe.

While we are learning more about the disease and how to manage changes, one challenge is particularly worrisome. In the last few weeks, he’s started getting agitated and pacing in the evening. Researching these behaviors has me convinced my grandfather is experiencing sundowner’s syndrome. I understand it puts him at higher risk for attempting to wander from home.

I’m concerned if he does wander, we won’t be able to find him before something terrible happens. We have a home security system, but we don’t always have it on. Do you have any suggestions for what we can do to keep him safe?


Steve from Ann Arbor, Michigan

GPS Tracking for Adults with Alzheimer’s Disease

Dear Steve:
We’ve heard from others in this situation many times over the years. Wandering is a common worry as the disease progresses. In fact, Alzheimer’s Association research shows that six out of ten people with the disease will wander. Locating a senior quickly is essential.

Fortunately, technology provides seniors and their family members with a variety of solutions. A leading option is GPS tracking devices. Here are a couple to explore for your grandfather:

  • SmartSole®: This discreet GPS device is actually a trimmable insole that fits snuggly into a senior’s shoe. Once inserted, the technology in the sole can track a senior’s location if they wander away and become lost. It works by establishing circular perimeters known as geozones. If the senior exits these areas, their caregivers will receive an alert. The caregivers can also use a smartphone app to instantly check their senior loved one’s location.
  • GPS watch: Another option family caregivers find useful is a GPS watch. They are especially effective for a senior accustomed to wearing a watch, as they will be less likely to try to remove it. Many look similar to a sports watch, making them a more discreet option than a pendant. Features vary by model but the TK-STAR GPS Watch and the Tycho Real-time SOS GPS Tracker earn good reviews.

Finally, I’d also like to share a few resources that might be helpful in managing agitation and reducing the risk for wandering. 4 Common Triggers for Anger and Agitation in People with Alzheimer’s and Wandering are two articles to review.

I hope this information is useful in caring for your grandfather, Steve.

Kind regards,


Memory Care at Heritage Senior Living Communities

Families who have a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or a similar type of dementia often find the support of a specialized dementia care community to be an ideal solution. These programs keep a senior with memory loss safe while also allowing for the best quality of life. Call the Heritage Senior Living community nearest you to learn more today!