Estate Planning

How To Track Elderly Parents' Phone (2 Options)

Ty McDuffey


As our parents start to age, keeping track of their locations and ensuring their safety becomes more important. 

Aging parents are more prone to health and mobility issues and cognitive diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s

For these reasons, it’s important to be able to keep an eye on your elderly parent and provide around-the-clock care in case of an emergency. One such way to keep track of your elderly parent is to track their cell phones. 

This article will cover techniques for tracking an older parent's phone, such as using phone tracking applications and GPS tracking devices.

After reading this article, you will have vital information for keeping your elderly parents safe, whether you are a worried adult child or a caregiver.

Key Takeaways:

  • The usage of a tracking device for your parents’ phone is legal and ethical if it is fully agreed upon.

  • Mobile apps and GPS trackers are the best ways to monitor your parents as they age. 

  • Consider monthly charges and GPS functionality before buying a tracker for your parent.

  • Allowing your parents to participate actively in decision-making and having open and honest dialogues will help you reduce, if not eliminate, any guilt you may be feeling about tracking them.

Why Track Your Aging Parents?

To say the least, monitoring anybody, particularly your parents, may seem intrusive. 

However, tracking your elderly parents for safety reasons may be your only alternative if they lose their mental abilities as they age.

The following are some of the most common reasons why individuals opt to monitor their elderly parents:

  1. Tracking your parents allows you to be aware of what they are doing.

  2. Tracking your parents gives you a clear idea of where they're heading.

  3. Knowing your parents' location can help you get to them promptly if assistance is required.

In short, you may opt to follow your elderly parents to provide yourself with more peace of mind. 

GPS monitoring gadgets are particularly useful if you live far away from your parents and wish to provide safety and assistance when required.

When Should You Monitor Your Elderly Parents?

Perhaps you're wondering when you should start worrying about monitoring your elderly parents' movements. 

While there is no hard and fast rule about when to start monitoring, several things might help you decide.

Mental Function Declining

It is normal for people's mental processes to deteriorate as they age. While this may not seem to be a worry initially, it may become a safety concern with time. 

The most rapid deterioration in mental function normally occurs around the age of 60, although it may start as early as 45. 

The most prevalent problems with mental function decline are:

  • Forgetfulness

  • Confusion

  • Inability to follow instructions

  • Getting lost when wandering inside a business or driving

Health Concerns

Health issues may arise when individuals begin to age and enter the senior category. 

There could be occasions when health problems begin to interfere with your parents' day-to-day functioning and, as a result, hinder your parents while they are on the road. 

While not all health issues need monitoring, the following are ones to keep an eye out for:

  • Missed medical appointments

  • Forgotten medication 

  • Poor hygiene

  • Unusual bruising

If you see any of these qualities in your parents, it may be time to start tracking them while they go about their regular activities. 

Taking notice of these indicators early on could spare you a lot of time and stress, and concern later on.

Is it Legal to Track Your Aging Parents?

If you're using a monitoring device to keep an eye on your elderly parents, make sure you discuss it with them beforehand. The usage of a tracking device is legal and ethical if it is fully agreed upon.

However, if you discreetly implant a monitoring device on your parents' phone and they are unaware of it, you may face criminal charges if they discover it and decide to sue you.

In the United States, the illegal tracking of a phone can be a federal crime under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), which prohibits unauthorized access to stored electronic communications, including GPS data, from a person's cell phone. 

Penalties for violating the ECPA can include fines and imprisonment for up to 5 years.

It is best to be open and honest with your parents, both for your relationship's sake and your legal situation.

Option 1: Use a Phone App

Mobile phone apps can help you monitor the health and safety of your elderly parents remotely.  

Senior Safety App

You can download and install the Senior Safety Alert app from the Google Play Store for free. 

The Senior Safety App can be set up in seconds, allowing caregivers to remotely monitor alarms, reports, and whereabouts using their smartphones or PCs. 

When you use the Senior Safety App, you will receive notifications for emergency help requests, falls, network changes (sim card change), phone inactivity for an extended time, entry/exit from geo-locations (buildings, streets, cities, or neighborhoods), app installs or uninstalls, and low battery alerts: 

The Senior Safety App Has the Ability to Notify Several People

Seniors may use the SOS option to swiftly get assistance when they need it. 

When you choose this option, text alerts are sent to numerous persons, informing them of the phone's present position. 

A round-robin call option calls all emergency contacts one by one until a connection is made.

The Senior Safety App Has Automatic Fall Warnings

This function tracks movement using the phone's built-in motion sensors and automatically sends alarms in the event of a fall, unexpected jerk, or incapacitation. 

The Senior Safety App Helps Avoid Wandering

The app's Zone Alert prevents dementia patients from straying away from home. 

You can set a custom geo-fence (such as a house, neighborhood, or town) and get notifications when the device departs or enters that region.

Alerts for Inactivity

You can receive notifications when the phone is motionless for a lengthy period of time, which may be modified depending on the user's lifestyle. 

Low-Battery Warning

For some elders, their phone is their sole means of communication with the outside world. 

As a result, keeping it charged is critical. You can set when you want to get notifications depending on battery availability.

History of Visited Locations

A history of the areas visited is necessary to verify that your parent is receiving enough exercise and seeing the doctor on time. It can also monitor unexpected trips.

Option 2: Use a GPS Tracker

Putting a tracking device on anybody may seem excessive, but in a case where safety is a concern, it can be helpful. 

While these devices won't let you see your parents in person, they'll help you track them when you're away:

Theora Connect Tracker Watch

The Theora Connect is a watch that includes a pre-activated cell phone. The watch connects to your parents' phone through the Theora Link app. This remote tracker offers 2-way voice activation without needing to push any buttons.

Key Features:

  • The system includes a watch and a phone

  • The system allows for two-way voice communication

Price: $369.95

Lively Wearable2 Mobile Medical Alert Plus Step Tracker

The Lively Wearable2 is a GPS-tracking smartwatch. The Lively Wearable2 can connect to your parents’ phone through the Lively App. The watch also connects users to an Urgent Response Agent.

Key Features:

  • 24/7 access to urgent response agents

  • Accurate GPS tracking

  • Compatible with select iOS and Android devices

Price: $49.99

AMERICALOC GL300W Mini Portable GPS Tracker 

This GPS tracker has a range capable of crossing state lines, and the battery can last for more than a month. The tracker documents up to one year of location history and sends an alert when your senior parent enters or leaves certain areas.

Key Features:

  • Live tracking data

  • Documents one year of tracking data

  • Tracking is available from any tablet, computer, or cell phone (Android and IOS apps are available)

Price: $106.00 plus a $25/month subscription

Considerations Before Purchasing a GPS Tracker for a Senior Loved One

Consider the following aspects before you buy a GPS tracker for seniors:

Monthly Charges

Many GPS trackers charge a monthly subscription. 

This is because they utilize cellular technology to determine your parents' position and deliver it to you. 

There are devices with no charge; however, some have restricted tracking capabilities.

GPS Functionality

If you want a GPS tracker that can track throughout the country, you should use a more costly, traditional GPS tracker. 

If you need short-range tracking, there are simpler, less costly options.

Additional Functionality

Many GPS trackers provide a slew of extra capabilities. 

Some GPS trackers, for example, serve as fitness trackers, delivering health measures and other data. 

Two-way calling, SOS buttons, and audio monitoring are further features to look for.

What Happens If Your Parents Travel Abroad?

If you need to track down parents who travel or live abroad, consider investing in a GPS device that sends data in real time. 

While all GPS trackers use satellites, minor synchronization discrepancies exist when tracking abroad. This is something that should be considered before making a purchase. 

Should You Feel Guilty About Tracking Your Aging Parents?

Your parents have cared for you for as long as you can remember. Now, the tables have been turned, and it may be both unpleasant and guilt-inducing to track your parent yourself. 

Taking on the role of protector and carer elicits various feelings, one of which is guilt.

Allowing your parents to participate actively in decision-making and having open and honest dialogues will help you reduce, if not eliminate, any guilt you may be feeling.

How Should You Explain Tracking to Your Elderly Parents?

Deciding to keep a closer check on your parents may be an emotional experience for both of you. 

Remember that losing independence is a difficult experience, and depending on someone else to keep you safe may be emotionally draining for elderly parents. 

The following are essential things you can do is ensure your parents maintain their dignity throughout the process:

Keep Your Parents Involved 

You may have your parent's best interests at heart, and tracking them might be highly valuable; nonetheless, you must enable them to be a part of the process. 

When you exclude someone from decision-making, you effectively establish your power over them, which might make them feel vulnerable.

The best thing you can do is present numerous options and assist them in selecting the choice that makes them feel the most at ease. 

Remember that the concept of constantly being watched may be unsettling at first. Allowing a say in decision-making may ease the transition for all parties involved.


You must listen to your parents while making life-changing choices for them. 

It may be difficult to decide to monitor your parents since you understand the complete rationale for your choice, but they may have questions and concerns that need your attention.

Ask Questions

Ask your parents if they have any questions or reservations regarding your monitoring them. They could think it's a good idea, but they'll probably have some questions. 

Sympathize with them and spend time answering their questions. It's okay if you do not know the answer to a certain question; nevertheless, try to find the answer as soon as possible.

Take the Initiative 

Tracking your parents is a huge decision that should not be taken lightly. 

While it may seem to be something far in the future, it is prudent to prepare ahead of time. Being proactive allows for more research and gives your parents time to prepare and consider the prospect of monitoring. While this will not ensure a smooth transition, it will most likely help.

You may spend a lot of time planning to use devices to track your parents and have the most technologically sophisticated program, but at the end of the day, the best thing you can do is be empathetic. 

While you understand that this is for your parents' protection, it is a change that may take some time to adjust to.

How Can Trustworthy Help?

Although a GPS can help you monitor your parents’ location, it will not likely help you locate their legal documents in the case of an emergency.

Trustworthy allows you and your parents to upload important papers such as healthcare directives, wills, and power of attorney to the cloud, where they can easily be shared amongst yourselves.

Sign up for a free 14-day trial with Trustworthy today. 

Final Thoughts

It is not hard to track elderly parents. Nevertheless, it can be emotionally challenging.  

When choosing to track your aging parents, it is important to approach the situation with compassion. Your parents have been independent for a long time, and sometimes just the thought of someone monitoring them, even their child, can be stressful. 

Talk with your parents to ensure the tracking process of their phones goes as smoothly as possible.