The home that watches over your parents: Is it for you?

activity-tracking home sensor systems

Longevity Explorers

Project team

Richard Caro

Richard Caro

Scientist turned entrepreneur. Strategic adviser to emerging growth companies. Occasional angel investor. Oxford D.Phil. (Physics). Co-founder: Tech-enhanced Life.

Mary Hulme

Mary Hulme

Founder, Moonstone Geriatrics. Licensed clinical social worker and geriatric care manager with 18 years of experience helping Bay Area seniors and their families as they transition through the later stages of life. Specialist in keeping older people safely at home for as long as possible.

Research Project snapshot

Product category: Activity tracking home sensor systems.

Goals: Do these products work? Which ones are best? And for which types of people are they suitable?

For whom is this work useful: Friends and families of frail seniors who worry about them being alone. And seniors who are looking for ways they can stay safely at home for longer, avoiding the specter of the nursing home.

Results of this Research Project: The results of Part 1 of this project were available as an e-book on Amazon (now discontinued).


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.


Research Project Summary

If you have an elderly parent or friend who lives alone or spends much of the day home alone, you probably worry about what happens to them in between visits and telephone calls. What happens if they fall and hurt themselves? Or, if they become forgetful, and fail to turn off the stove or the bath? Or if any one of a myriad of other things go wrong? It's bad enough if you live just around the corner, and even worse if you live far away and can't pop in to see them every afternoon.

And if you are that elderly person home alone, you probably wish there were someone close at hand you could call on if there was an emergency and you hurt yourself. Or perhaps you wish your children did not worry quite so much about you in between phone calls.

This research project is about a new class of products coming to market now, which are targeted squarely at these wishes and worries. And which might also allow the frail elderly person to stay home alone longer than they might otherwise have done. We call these products Activity-tracking Home Sensor Systems, and they seem to have great potential. But 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.

We wanted to find out if they work well yet? And which ones work best (there are quite a few)? And for which types of people and types of circumstance are they suitable? We set out to answer questions like these, and this report will tell you what we learned.


The Details

This project is a collaboration between Tech-enhanced Life's internal analyst team, and a group of Citizen Observers and Citizen Evaluators.

This work was supported solely by Tech-enhanced Life, PBCIt was not sponsored by any of the companies whose products we investigated, although all but one of the companies we covered co-operated with our work and helped ensure we got the correct information.

The results of Part 1 of this project are available in an e-book (on Amazon) for a modest fee. Any revenues we receive in excess of our costs will be distributed 100% to the Citizen Observers & Evaluators who participate in the work.



Learn more


Members can:

  • Learn more about this research project.
  • View listings of products to be evaluated.