Technology and Tools for Monitoring Love Ones

I wanted to share and hopefully encourage discussion on some of the technology out there I use to help manage my mum who has dementia. If anyone is aware of any useful tools they have come across it would be great to share.

I stay a few days a week with mum and pop in each day, however when I am remote I use the following tools to give me some security that she is ok.

I use Amazon Alexa Show 8 boxes, one at either end in my case (but you can use your smartphone to video chat from if you only want one at her end or your out and about). The biggest benefit to this is a facility called “Drop In” this means I can talk to my mum without her having to press answer or pick up a phone and not know which button to press which she was struggling with, it just opens up the video call and we chat. You can restrict who does this so don’t be concerned.

I also use some Hive sensors, one movement sensor so i know if she is upstairs, a second front door sensor so I am alerted if she did wander out in the early hours and I have a video camera in the front room so I can keep an eye.

Additionally I had some old work iphones which I have now setup as cameras using a FREE app called ‘Presence’ in several places of the house, they do need constant power as their batteries are end of life so long charging cables required but they were doing nothing any longer stuck in a drawer so have proved useful. This gives me a good idea if mum has disappeared from view to know she is ok and can also be setup to email short video clips to you.

The last thing I put in place is a motion sensor in the front porch, this is an Amazon Echo Flex with a motion sensor and a cheap echo dot, this has been setup to play a warning message should mum open the door between 10:00-07:00 to again discourage her from leaving the house during the night. This has proved beneficial on several occasion and on a couple been ignored anyway but it gives me a little security as my phone is alerted at the same time.

Luckily we have fantastic neighbours around us that have taken mum in and called us when she has gone for a wander during the night, but over 3 years this has probably been half a dozen occasion so hopefully the technology in my instance is making things a little more manageable and allowing mum to stay in her own home.

Also these items I have listed are not stupidly expensive (between £20-£60).

Feel free to shout if you have any questions, and always interested in anything else people can suggest.

Hope your mother and you are going well and everything is ok with your health. You have already done a great job. Really. Your mother is protected and you may not worry so strong when you are at work or somewhere else. I have not thought about such things before but nowadays it is easier to monitor someone. By the way, have you thought about using a sim card location tracker. You can just buy an old smartphone with a workable battery and install an app that will send you the location of your mother if it is not visible on cameras. The only thing is that you have to charge this smartphone so it must have a really good battery.

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Hi, I’m new to this forum. Looking after my Dad who is nearly 93 and has Alzheimer’s. Can anyone help by telling me how someone would phone me or my sister using this technology. Could my Dad say “Phone Evelyn/Kathy?” Or would he need to touch the screen?

Thank you

I live in Hampshire, I know that they are trying to provide vulnerable clients with what they call “assistive technology” so they can reduce their care costs. Before anyone spends money, try your LA first!

This is next on our list for my dad should the needs assessment say that he can be left overnight. At the moment he has an NHS carer living in for a total of 4 weeks but if live in care is needed beyond that point then it dramatically changes how we go about things. He can now get himself to the loo and back in the night but is still bumping into things and occasionally getting disorientated (he is newly totally blind) so his carer has to steer him back. He can’t fall down the stairs because his stair lift is always at the top and pretty much blocks the space. We are waiting for the internet to be installed so we can put some tech in and we will definitely be installing a Ring doorbell. Other than that, we need to monitor his upstairs movement overnight (if he can be left) and he needs to be able to make and receive emergency phone calls as well as calls to family & friends (no video needed for this obviously as he’s blind). He does have a medic alert function on a pendant but we’ve had issues in the past with this when he has inadvertently set it off but then can’t hear them asking if he’s okay so they automatically send someone out! I don’t know if some of these organisations are better than others - we’re in Hampshire but the one we’ve been using isn’t the same as the one they are linked to.

I have an ongoing battle with HCC over my son’s care etc. however they have special arrangements with Argenti.
Ring up Social Services and ask specifically to speak to someone familiar with electronic aids.
My son was given an Oysta tracker/alert phone.

I have found using a baby monitor is a useful tool but also on of these pressure mats that goes off and arlets you someone is either up or going out the door. handy items to have when you can’t go the expensive stuff.

Pressure mats can be really useful, but be aware that they don’t always work.

After several attempts at disabling his by removing it from its station, my son eventually figured out what to do. Took the cover off the internal wiring and removed all of the gubbins. Then he put the cover back on as if nothing had happened.

We don’t know how long it took his care staff to work out what had happened. But we got the message!

An update on our tech position -

Dad has been considered safe to be left overnight (after some disagreement with his current carer who clearly would like to stay on so was / is pushing for live in care). We are awaiting Argenti to come out and do an assessment so that they can replace his current Carelink system. There was mention of a pressure sensor that can tell you if someone has been out of bed for more than half an hour but they didn’t know if it could be changed (I think 30 minutes is too long!). We also need to see if they can put a box in his bedroom because he can’t hear the Carelink operator from the single box in the hallway unless he is standing right next to it. The internet was switched on this week (hurrah!) and we have tried him with an Alexa, which thankfully he can hear. We’ve tried him calling us on it with limited success but I hope this will improve. He hasn’t quite understood that it is automated and she is not a real person and can’t turn his telly over as she provided him with a music channel that he assumed was coming from the TV. Next on the list is a Ring door bell (which will help me monitor how much my co-carer is actually doing…) When we mentioned a camera at the top of the stairs, the social worker started hyperventilating and stressing about invasion of privacy etc but then she established that he has capacity and was happy with a camera so that was another hurdle overcome.

Honestly if he can’t get on with Alexa to make & receive calls then I have no idea what we will do. What did people do before this?!

Good to know thanks.