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One small way to reduce the stress of caring for ageing parents

Caring for an elderly person in your life can be hard, especially if it's a parent. It can be a day to day, maybe even an hour to hour struggle. And you may not want to view it as a 'struggle', because they're family and you love them. But, it's okay to admit that caring for your ageing parent is a big feat, one that you may not have expected to be so emotionally and physically draining. Sometimes, it may even seem that you have taken on their life, and suddenly lost your own.

As a child to an elderly parent, you want to care for them as they did you, but ensuring their safety is a big responsibility. Each parent requires a different level of care; it could be that your parent is fully dependent on you as their caregiver, or it may be that you are now beginning to see areas where they need more assistance. No matter what level of care you provide, watching your elderly parent decline in health and ability can be hard, and rightfully so you want to do all you can to make it easier, but that doesn't come without stress and worry.

There are various solutions that can you help you regain balance, but not many are as simple and discrete as a GPS tracker. The impact such a small device can have on your life as a carer is often surprising to many. It can alleviate some of your stress and concern by helping to prevent accidents and wandering, and allow you to keep eye on your loved one without affecting their independence.

Small and portable trackers for wandering

You may have considered tracking the concerned individual with their smartphone, which is a popular option. But what happens when they forget their phone at home?

Wearable accessories, such as GPS smart watches, can help solve this problem but they often come with their own issues, notably short battery lives and a certain resistance from the individual to wear something they "don't need".

A more dependable option for elderly people prone to wandering and who habitually always take a bag/pair of boots/coat/keys is to have a GPS device that can be easily attached or placed inside possessions or clothing.

Accident prevention

A GPS tracker won't prevent your elderly parent from wandering, but when they do every second counts, and the chances of finding them without injury, and even alive decreases with every minute that goes by. A GPS tracker can keep your parent safe by allowing you to track their location and find them as quickly as possible.

However, many wander at night, so whilst you're fast asleep, unbeknown to you, your parent could be wandering the streets. And it's likely that you won't know that they're missing until several hours later when it could be too late. A great feature of many GPS trackers are GPS safe-zones which allow you to create a virtual fence on a map, so when the tracker leaves the safe zone (such as their house) you will receive an alert letting you know instantly. With this feature, a quick response could save their lives.

Increased independence

Seniors may feel that they’re losing their freedom and independence as they advance in age, especially if assisted living or caregiving is being considered. For many, it may be simply unfair and unnecessary to have constant supervision. Having a GPS tracker will allow them to freely do whatever they choose and go out alone without having someone breathing down their necks. You’ll also have the peace of mind knowing where they are at any time.

SOS / Panic Button

With a simple press of a button, a disoriented individual can alert you of their whereabouts. If they’re slightly confused, using a mobile phone may prove to be a little complicated.  With some trackers, the SOS button can also alert the authorities and emergency services. An SOS button on the tracker will put you and them at ease, knowing that if needed they can easily alert you of  their whereabouts.

Affordable monitoring

There are many services that you can choose from to provide the best care for your parent. Some popular choices include care homes and at-home care. Both can be great options, but they come with a hefty price tag with care homes costing approx. £32,000 a year, and live in care approx. £800 per week. If you believe that these would work well for you and your parent, it may be a small price to pay, but for some this level of care isn't always the best solution.  A care home provides many care services that a GPS tracker could never, but if you're considering a care home for your parent primarily because of wandering concerns, a GPS tracker may be a significantly cheaper option to try at first.

As is the case with most things, one size does not fit all. What works for one family and their elderly parent may not work well for yours, and that's okay. You're free to choose the best solution for your family as no care situation is the same, and in many cases, it's not just one simple answer, but a complete framework involving increased care, support network and monitoring. A GPS tracker is a great small tool to have in your arsenal to help care for your parent. It's a small price to pay for a device that could save their life, and give you at least a little peace of mind.

See our small GPS tracker for elderly care here.

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About Efia Davis