Wearable and Portable GPS Solutions for Monitoring Mobility in Dementia: A Systematic Review

Anisha Cullen, Md Khadimul Anam Mazhar, Matthew D. Smith, Fiona E. Lithander, Mícheál Ó Breasail, Emily J. Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Dementia is the most common neurodegenerative disorder globally. Disease progression is marked by declining cognitive function accompanied by changes in mobility. Increased sedentary behaviour and, conversely, wandering and becoming lost are common. Global positioning system (GPS) solutions are increasingly used by caregivers to locate missing people with dementia (PwD) but also offer a non-invasive means of monitoring mobility patterns in PwD. We performed a systematic search across five databases to identify papers published since 2000, where wearable or portable GPS was used to monitor mobility in patients with common dementias or mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Disease and GPS-specific vocabulary were searched singly, and then in combination, identifying 3004 papers. Following deduplication, we screened 1972 papers and retained 17 studies after a full-text review. Only 1/17 studies used a wrist-worn GPS solution, while all others were variously located on the patient. We characterised the studies using a conceptual framework, finding marked heterogeneity in the number and complexity of reported GPS-derived mobility outcomes. Duration was the most frequently reported category of mobility reported (15/17), followed by out of home (14/17), and stop and trajectory (both 10/17). Future research would benefit from greater standardisation and harmonisation of reporting which would enable GPS-derived measures of mobility to be incorporated more robustly into clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3336
Number of pages20
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - May 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • GPS
  • Movement/mobility
  • Remote monitoring
  • Sensors
  • Wearable technology

Cite this