Home Monitoring Devices for Early-Stage Dementia

On the one hand, you don’t want to limit the freedom of your parent with early-stage dementia. On the other, you want them to stay safe. 

They’re still fairly active and most people wouldn’t know they have dementia just to look at them. But sometimes they do things that are “off”, things that put them at risk.

Maybe it’s wandering away from home and getting lost. Or leaving the front door open for hours at a time. Or leaving the stove element on. Things that are tempting to dismiss as simple forgetfulness. But you know better.

Maybe they had a serious fall and couldn’t call for help.

Even if none of these things has happened, you’re still worried they could.

The trouble is you can’t keep an eye on them 24/7. And even if you could, they may resent your constant presence, seeing it as overbearing.

You know that home monitoring tech has advanced a lot over the years. Might it provide an answer?

Home security systems for monitoring loved ones with dementia

In fact, home security systems are increasingly being designed with the safety of people with dementia in mind. Many providers now offer a variety of devices that allow you to unobtrusively monitor your parent’s activity on a smartphone app, something that can give you peace of mind if you’re concerned about them living on their own.

  • Motion sensors – When placed in different rooms of your parent’s home, these can alert you to lack of movement during the day (suggesting illness or a fall) or excessive movement at night (suggesting sleep disturbances).
  • Indoor cameras – These allow you to check in on your parent periodically or when you’ve been sent an alert via another device. Some cameras include a 2-way talk feature. They also allow you to monitor the arrival and departure times of professional caregivers.
  • Outdoor cameras – Located at entry points to your parent’s home, they can provide an overview of comings and goings. 
  • Video doorbells – If you’re concerned about your parent answering the front door to strangers, this will allow you to remotely screen and speak to visitors.
  • Door sensors – If you’re concerned about your parent wandering away from home, a sensor on the front door can send you an alert when it opens unexpectedly. 
  • Indoor temperature monitoring – In the winter, a drop in indoor temperature could mean that your parent has left a door or window open.

Medical alert systems

  • Wearables – These come in the form of pendants, bracelets, or smart watches. Often, they can monitor and track your parent no matter where they are. Your parent can call for help with the press of a button. Some can be programmed to send medication reminders and upcoming doctor’s appointments. Fall detection may also be a feature, but not all falls will necessarily be detected. And sometimes there may be false alarms. The fall detection feature usually works best when you can confirm a fall using another device.
  • Locating devices – Wearables may also emit GPS and radio-frequency signals that make it easier to find your parent should they wander. 

Consent

Be sure to seek the consent of your parent before using these devices, especially if they’re still mentally capable of giving consent. After all, you’re asking them to give up some of their privacy, even if it is for their own safety.

Other tips

At Sinceri, we’re skilled at helping people with dementia stay both active and safe. Find a Sinceri assisted living and memory care community near you here, and contact us to schedule a tour. Download our free guide, Just the Facts: Memory Care, to learn more about Sinceri’s memory care communities.

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