The Role of GPS Technology for Elderly Care

5 mins read

Looking after loved ones that have lost some of their independence and mobility can be incredibly difficult – and especially if you are also worried about their safety. As a caregiver or a relative, it’s incredibly hard to put a loved one’s problems to the back of your mind and get on with everyday life.

But it’s no picnic for the elderly or chronically ill either – as they will often find themselves unable to enjoy the normal things in life. Sometimes that means things as simple as being able to head outside.

In this post, we’ll explain how GPS technology is changing all that: giving more freedom to elderly patients while also helping to give caregivers that much-needed peace of mind.

Introducing Medical Alert Systems

A medical alert system is a device that could potentially save your life. Essentially, these are portable units that provide you with a means of calling the emergency medical services should you have a fall or attack of any kind. The great thing about these is that they allow you to get on with your life without worrying that you need to stay near the phone at all times – and that can help put your family’s minds at rest too.

But in order for this to be a viable solution, you need to ensure you have the right device. For instance, what if you want to leave the house?

Medical Alert Systems for Outdoors

The good news is that there are plenty of medical alert systems that work outside the home – you just need to ensure that you have the right product.

If you already have a system and you’re not sure whether yours will work outside, then the easiest way to check is to look at whether any aspect of it is plugged into the landline. Sometimes the portable unit acts as a controller for a larger device that looks like answering machine. If this is the case, then you may need to stay within range of the unit for it to work – though you can still probably head into the garden (it’s worth testing this with the test button though).

On the other hand, though, other medical alert systems work like mobile phones and in this case you should be able to use the device anywhere that you would get phone signal. Again, if you’re unsure, then just check. Some systems actually use both methods to ensure you’re covered whatever happens.

Note as well though that if you’re in public, there should at least be someone nearby who can help you should you need it and call for help.


While this technology might already seem revolutionary, the true advancement comes in the form of GPS functionality. GPS is a positioning technology that allows a device to locate its exact coordinates by triangulating from a signal bounced off of satellites. It’s quite extraordinary, but we use it all the time in technologies such as smartphones and car navigation systems!

According to Jane Byrne, project coordinator in a nursing home in Dublin, “When you combine a medical alert system with GPS, the results are amazing. Now you can leave the home knowing that you’ll be able to call for help, but also knowing that those emergency services will know precisely where to find you at any given time.”

At the same time, you can also in some cases allow your friends and relatives to check in on your location. Perhaps a little invasive – but if means they don’t panic when they call the house and get no answer, then most people would agree that this is probably a worthwhile compromise.

There are plenty of devices that do all this out there, so be sure to read reviews online to find the right one for you.

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