Watching over an elderly parent with video monitoring

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Keeping tabs on an elderly parent who lives alone has become much easier and more affordable in recent years thanks to a host of popular new video monitoring technologies.

But, before you invest in this monitoring option, make sure it’s OK with your parent first!

Many seniors find this type of “I’m watching you” technology to be an invasion of privacy, while others don’t mind and even welcome the idea.

Here’s what you should know about video monitoring, along with a new sensor monitoring option for seniors who don’t want to be watched.

Video Monitoring

As the technology has improved and the costs have come down, video monitoring/surveillance cameras have become very popular for keeping an eye on your home, business, child or pet (via smartphone, tablet or computer), but they also work well for monitoring an elder loved one who lives alone.

Most home video monitoring cameras today are sleek, small and easy to set up, but do require home Wi-Fi.

Although camera capabilities will vary, the best devices all provide wide-view angles, HD quality video, night vision, built-in motion and sound detection that can notify you when something is happening, and two-way audio that let’s you talk and listen.

And, they also offer a video recording option (for an extra fee) that saves past video to a cloud, so you can rewind and review what you missed.

One of the best products available today that does all this and more is the Nest Cam (nest.com), which costs $199, but if you want their video recording option, it’s an extra $100 per year for a 10-day video history, or $300/year for 30 days.

Sensor Monitoring

If your parent is uncomfortable with video monitoring, and doesn’t want you to be able to peek in whenever you want, another less invasive option to consider is a “sensor” monitoring system.

These systems use small wireless sensors (not cameras) placed in key areas of your parent’s home that can detect changes in their activity patterns, and will notify you via text message, email or phone call if something out of the ordinary is happening.

A great company that offers this technology is Silver Mother (sen.se/silvermother), which provides small sensors that you attach to commonly used household objects like their pillbox, refrigerator door, TV remote, front door, etc.

So, for example, if your mom didn’t pick up her pillbox to get her medicine or didn’t open the refrigerator door to make breakfast like she usually does, or if she left the house at a peculiar time you would be notified and could check on her. You can also check up on her anytime you want online or through their mobile app. Silver Mother costs $299 for four sensors, with no ongoing monthly service fees.

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