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Device Tracks Seniors Prone to Wandering

Last week, I test drove the PocketFinder, one of a handful of new high-tech devices families can use to track the location of a person, pet, or car—something that might come in handy if you are concerned about wandering children, dogs, or elders.

At the same time, I received an email from Laurie Orlov, who writes a blog entitled “Aging In Place Technology Watch.” Ms. Orlov compiled a list of several “new technologies and/or services” for potential use in caring for older adults.

Among the products she highlights is a service that installs high-tech sensors in an elder’s home, with “an artificial intelligence algorithm” that learns his or her “habits and detect patterns that could indicate a fall or loss of consciousness.” Yet another product on Ms. Orlov’s list is a “smart bed,” capable of tracking a person’s “heart rate, breathing rate, motion and presence.”

Here is how PocketFinder works:

The round device, about two inches long, is light enough to be worn on a belt or around one’s neck. The manufacturer sells three models –one for humans ($149.95), one for pets ($149.95) and one for cars ($189.95). Service is free for the first two months and costs $12.95 a month afterwards.

The technology relies upon GPS signals and can be programmed to send you data as often as once every two minutes. On the PocketFinder web site, you can also set up geographic zones and request to be notified when the person you are tracking moves outside the specified boundaries. When a device is installed in a car, it can tell you how fast the vehicle is moving.

Dave Michael Morse, a vice president at PocketFinder, says Sun City West in Surprise, Arizona purchased the devices for some of its residents who are prone to wandering. A local volunteer force that patrols the community uses the technology to track these residents and return them home when missing.


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    • Umm. Uh-oooh. I halfway lost this chenallge today, because I already made plans to go shopping when I woke up this morning, because I’ve gained some weight. (I’m still working on the IChoose2move chenallge). But I must say that in the past two years, since I have made a life change and moved to another state, I am more conscious of spending. I moved into a smaller place(no more walk through closet), and now I see how much I’ve been blessed and didn’t even realize it. In my new place I had nowhere to put alot of my things, so I’ve attempted to cram them all into a closet and under the bed. For instance, I had a whole garbage bag full of purses,some with the tag still on them,that won’t fit under the bed. (We won’t talk about the shoes). I can only carry one purse at a time, so this has forced me to be a more giving person giving to others who could use.

    • I have a Father that has a wondering problem but we are a low income family Could I maybeget some help with ths?

    • I have Allianz and feel they are a real rip off and were misrepresented by the salesman. I complained to several authorities about this but nothing was ever done. I would never use them again.
      I do think there is a misunderstanding on the money draw out after 70. This is a federal requirement.

    • I had anuity with Allianz Insurance company and recentry I needed money for house developement so I asked to withdraw money from my anuity. When I open anuity with Allianz, the company represent that when I am over 70 yrs then I have to withdraw monthly or yearly and after retired. I am over 70yrs old, but the company would not give my money when I needed and so much hassle so I asked my bank about anuity and they said I can transfer the money to my bank,so I trasfer the anuity to my bank because my bank is my neighbor and I have been with this bank over 30yrs and the Allianz deduct over 17000$ . I understand there is to payment of tax and penalty but they didn’t send money the original money I gave to the company. I am very upset so I want to let the old people,retiree know that do not experience with their anuity like I had problem with my anuity any more,401k is best or bank anuity is best.

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  • Encore examines the changing nature of retirement, from new rules and guidelines for financial security to the shifting identities and priorities of today’s retirees. The blog also explores news that affects retirement, from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and around the web. Lead bloggers are reporter Catey Hill and senior editor Jeremy Olshan. Other contributors include The Wall Street Journal’s retirement columnists Glenn Ruffenach and Anne Tergesen; the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Alicia Munnell; and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, Michael Kitces, CFP.