Caring from Afar: Guide to Home Sensor Systems



Do you worry about aging parents?

If you worry about elderly parents or friends who spend a lot of time home alone, and are concerned about what would happen if they fell, or if they left the stove on, or if they had an accident and you were not there to help, then the results of this research project on Activity-tracking Home Sensor Systems are for you.



Listen to the Researchers

Mary Hulme and Richard Caro gave a talk about their research at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on Jan. 8, 2015. Listen to the talk and view the slides below.


About our eBook: Caring from Afar — Guide to Home Sensor Systems

Caring for Elderly Parents: Will these products make them safer?

Authored by a scientist and a clinician, this eBook is an independent & objective review of a new product category — called “Activity-tracking Home Sensor Systems”. This detailed report is designed to help you decide whether one of these products will help you with caring for your elderly parents; keep them safer; and allow them to stay in their home longer. And if so, which of the quite different product offerings would be right for your particular circumstance and your aging parents.

Reader reviews: “An excellent, well-organized overview of needs and evolving solutions …”; “Especially valuable since everyone’s circumstance / situation is different …”; “… helps save the expense and frustration of purchasing the wrong system.”; “… this guide made it simple without being too basic or patronizing”; “Kudos to [the authors] for creating a very valuable resource for families“.

Independent report: “Activity-tracking Home Sensor Systems”

Activity-tracking Home Sensor Systems are new products designed to help seniors stay in their homes longer, and to help their family and friends worry about them less. This independent report looks in-depth at the leading Activity-tracking Home Sensor Systems: how they work; which ones work best; how are they the same or different; and, most importantly, how to match the best Activity-tracking Home Sensor System with your individual needs. This eBook is the first and only independent, objective report about these products. It provides an analysis of the entire product category, as well as of specific products, and comes with links to an online database of more detailed product features that will be updated as new products enter the market.

Intelligent sensors: With the emergence of low cost sensors, low cost computing power, and ubiquitous wireless communications, it is now possible to embed sensors around the house so they “know” whether a person is getting up when they normally do; eating when they normally do; moving around more or less than usual; or have fallen; or fallen and stopped moving. The products in this report are designed to observe these activities unobtrusively in the background, sending “alerts” to other family members if something seems to be “not OK”.

Big differences between offerings: When the authors (a scientist-turned entrepreneur, and a geriatric consultant) set out to find one of these systems for their own use, they discovered that information about these products is sorely lacking, except in the form of marketing material disseminated by the companies. And at first glance, a number of these systems look the same. So they set out to research the field. After quite a lot of digging, they found that there are significant differences between the products, and that the “best” product is very dependent on your exact life situation.

About the authors: The authors, Richard Caro and Mary Hulme, are members of the Longevity Explorers, a group of Citizen Observers, Evaluators & Makers — working together to improve the quality of life of people as they age. This report is an initiative of the Longevity Explorers, and is published by Tech-enhanced Life, PBC, which is the organization that manages the Longevity Explorers on behalf of its members. Tech-enhanced Life, PBC is a Public Benefit Corporation with a mission of improving the quality of life of the aging and their families.


UPDATE Dec. 2019: Please note that the exact specifics of individual companies in our e-Book are now rather out of date, and some of the companies and products no longer exist.

If you are looking for a general overview of what matters in this space, and what the key features are, then the e-book is still pretty relevant.

But, if you want exact specifics about individual products, this e-book is no longer current.


Want the e-Book?

  • Buy the e-Book on Amazon (out of print)