Today’s smart technology can monitor the activity of a loved one who’s living alone so you can check in on them from a remote location and offer support as needed. It helps to identify problems as they occur so you can intervene before they become full-blown crises.
Here’s how they work. Discreet wireless sensors are placed around the home in key locations like the bedroom, kitchen, medication areas, and bathroom. These sensors keep track of your loved ones normal routines and can send you or another designated caregiver alerts regarding unusual situations. You can see a huge selection of products here.
For example, depending on the system, you can receive alerts if the person
- Opens the outside door at 5:00am instead of their usual 10:00am time
- Gets out of bed at night and doesn’t return
These sensors do not emit alarms, flashing lights, or even send any radiation into the room. These sensors just pick up the heat of the human body. We created this animation to help you visualize that these wireless monitors are checking for activity 24/7.
These smart systems can be very helpful for the right person who is still safe to live on their own, but needs daily monitoring and some back-up support to do so. It helps to identify problems as they occur so you can intervene before they become full blown crises.
Miscellaneous Sensors & the GrandCare Dedicated Monitor
These smart systems can be very helpful for the right person who can still safely live on their own, but who needs daily monitoring and some back-up support.
This monitoring system and communications package from GrandCare combines smart home technology with an internet connection to provide continuous updates to you, the caregiver, via the internet or via telephone or email (including text messages). This system can be used at a simple, basic level or expanded to include additional features, including telehealth, if appropriate for the person you care for.
The system works by:
- Using the internet connection in the home
- Connecting a small control box to the existing TV (or using a touchscreen and dedicated monitor from GrandCare)
- Receiving information from discretely placed sensors around the home, where activity should be monitored (doors, bed, kitchen, medicine cabinet, refrigerator, etc.)
- Learning the person’s normal routines and sending alerts to you or another designated caregiver if an unusual activity pattern occurs
Following setup, family members and caregivers with the required password can monitor the person’s environment and activity patterns from any internet browser. If the person is able to use the necessary equipment, you can also monitor wellness (blood pressure, weight, etc.).
1. Remote Monitoring
You can log on to a password protected website anytime to check the person’s recent activity level or wellness readings, as well as the indoor temperature, depending on what the person needs.
You can also receive automatic alerts by email or phone (including texts) for conditions which you feel you need to know about.
Possibilities include using activity and temperature sensors that can automatically send designated caregivers alerts by email, text, or phone if the person departs from normal routines, such as:
- Opening an outside door in the middle of the night
- Getting out of bed at night & not returning
- Not getting into bed
- Not accessing medications
- Not realizing the indoor temperature is too hot or too cold
2. Environmental Controls include:
- Turning lights on/off at dusk or dawn
- Turning lights on/off when the loved one gets up during the night
- Indoor temperature sensors alert you to extreme temperatures
3. Family Communication and Reminders
Family members and friends can post important information to help the person stay in touch and to orient them to the day’s events. For example, on the person’s TV, dedicated monitor, or touchscreen, they could see:
- Photographs and emails from loved ones
- Daily news and local weather
- •Doctor’s appointment reminder
- Trivia or quotations to stimulate the person’s memory
No special skills beyond those required for watching TV are needed. A person in the early stages may be able to use the optional touchscreen unit that will allow them to interact with the above information.
- What the Person with Dementia Needs- Internet connection (wired or wireless)
- What the Caregiver(s) Need(s)- Telephone (landline or cell phone) & Internet access
- No wearing or pushing of physical devices is required (essential for a person with dementia who will often forget to do so)
- Valuable real time information on status of the person you’re caring for without video cameras
- Capacity for constant communication between person cared for, caregiver(s), and other family members, which can help to reduce isolation for person with dementia
- Ability to detect problems before they become crises
- The person can still watch other TV shows by changing the channel (but they must remember to change the station back to the GrandCares station or you’ll need to get a separate monitor)
- Sensors could be removed by person or unit unplugged
- Limits of motion sensors: for example, motion sensor may indicate that medication has been accessed in the pill box or medicine cabinet, but cannot verify the medications were actually taken.
- There must be someone who can respond to alerts (though several family members and even professional caregivers can share this responsibility if you have the budget).
- Cost is beyond the financial means of many caregivers.