Passive Monitoring: Better Care For My 96-yr-old Aunt

By: Bev Cobb.  Updated: April 30, 2021.

 

Passive monitoring helps when it snows

Photo by Steve Philpott on Unsplash

 

Normally, I visit my Aunt 6-7 times a week. I count on these visits to “check up” on her, get her things she needs, and generally make sure she is OK. BUT, . . . In Wisconsin we have snow! And, I travel for work.

 

I live in Wisconsin in a small town, and am the primary caregiver for my 96-year old Aunt who lives alone, a 10-minute drive from my home. I am always looking for ways to help her more, while maintaining a balance between her independence and her “safety”.

I have been trying out a new product that provides “passive monitoring” to help watch over her when I am not there. I liked the product, and this report is to share how I used it, and why it was helpful.

My Takeaway: This capability has been great for both my Aunt and me. Passive monitoring has made my life as a caregiver so much better whether I am at home or in another state.

 

 

Passive Monitoring: What Is It?

Here is the idea behind “passive monitoring”.

What if you could equip a house or apartment with sensors that could notice whether the person was:

  • happily walking around vs having fallen and lying on the floor?
  • eating regularly or not;
  • getting a good night’s sleep or not;
  • showing early warning signs of various medical conditions like infections; and
  • getting lots of exercise vs becoming sedentary.

And what if the sensors could report back to some type of “dashboard” on which a caregiver or family member could keep an eye on how the person is faring with respect to issues like the above?

There have been a number of products that have been developed to be “passive monitoring systems” to help people in situations like that of my Aunt and me. I decided I wanted to get one and see if it helped.

 

 

Why I and My Aunt Wanted Passive Monitoring

There are a number of reasons why I thought this technology would be helpful in my situation. Here are a few of them.

  1. Normally, I visit my Aunt 6-7 times a week. I count on these visits to “check up” on her, get her things she needs, and generally make sure she is OK. BUT, . . .
    • In Wisconsin we have snow! Just imagine if a snowstorm came upon your community, you are at home, and unable to drive to check on loved ones you are caring for! I hoped that a passive monitoring system, would give me greater “peace of mind”.
       
    • In principle, with a passive monitoring system, you are able to check on your loved one from a mile away or from another state. I travel about ten times a year and am gone for at least a week and I wanted always to be able to see what or where she is in her home.
       
  2. From my Aunt’s point of view, this type of product gives her more ways to contact me and see me. She knows that I am always aware of where she is and also have a good idea of what she may be doing.

 

 

What I Did

I signed up for the Tech-enhanced Life newsletter some time ago and actually first looked at Livindi and SafeInHome on this newsletter. I emailed both parties to see if someone would actually get back to me since I believe communication is extremely important especially if there are any issues to be resolved.

  • SafeInHome took about 10 days to get back to me and I had to make up a ticket.
     
  • Livindi on the other hand, got back to me the next day and I asked questions and Dave, the Co Founder answered me. I printed out information for my Aunt’s doctor to review and asked her to present and explain to my Aunt.

I decided to order and try out the Livindi product.

[Note: While I did compare it with other products online, I did not try out the other products. And there may well be additional similar products I am not aware of. So, this is a report of what I did, and why I liked the Livindi product. However there may be other products equally as good or even better, and if you know of them, please add your comments at the bottom].

Disclaimer: I purchased the Livindi product myself and do not have any financial relationship with the company.

 

More About Livindi

See more about Livindi, including a link to the manufacturer's website and a discount code (negotiated by Tech-enhanced Life for our readers):

 

 

Receiving & Installing Livindi Passive Monitoring

So, I ordered Livindi for my Aunt who lives about 10 minutes from my home.

It came Priority Mail with personalized instructions. 

Livindi unboxing

 

The product has three “parts”.

  • The Livindi Tablet, which contains all of the technology, is placed in her living room, which has allowed it to connect to all of the sensors in her home.
  • There are a number of sensors that you need to position around the home;
  • There is an “app” that I (the caregiver) use. The older adult (my Aunt) does not need to use the app, nor do they need a smartphone. There can be multiple caregivers.

 

Livindi tablet screen

Caption: Here is the Livindi Tablet

 

NOTE: to call me or to have a Video Conference, my Aunt only needs to tap on my name on the tablet that sits on her desk – I have the option to answer as Video or a phone call

Here is what you get when you acquire the system.

  1. Personalized instruction folder with labels on each sensor.
  2. Livindi Pad is a 10” Tablet that is the heart of the system and collects data and live activities in the home.
  3. Concierge accessed through the Livindi Tablet arranges for any services you may need such as transportation, groceries etc.
  4. Livindi Wearable Device – connect wearer to caregivers - emergency contacts - with or without GPS. I did not use this device.
  5. Livindi App which may be used on on Smartphones, Androids and tablets to see the activity of your loved one by one or more caregivers.

 

The Sensors

The product came with 8 sensors. I am using 3 door sensors and 3 motion sensors at this time.

Each sensor was marked for each room and had sticky backs. Some were motion sensors and some were door sensors.

 

Front door

Front Door Sensor

 

Fridge sensor

Refrigerator Door Sensor

 

garage sensor

House Garage Door Sensor

 

living room sensor

Living Room-Bedroom Motion Sensor

 

Bathroom sensor

Bathroom Motion Sensor

 

 

Here are the rooms that have sensors at my Aunt’s home:

  • Bathroom – are her visits normal or is there a noticeable change? Investigate the reason for change and see if it needs a doctor’s attention or if there are other reasons they can explain to you;
     
  • Bedroom – is she getting a good night of sleep or is she wondering through the house at night? If she is restless, what is bothering her? This gives me a chance to help her with whatever her concerns are;
     
  • Kitchen - eating regular meals - visiting the refrigerator;
     
  • Doors - did she leave to get the mail or paper - did she return – she has meals delivered, were they delivered - if she left their home, did she return and can I see activity in her home or did a door close;
     
  • Laundry room door – did she do her laundry.

 

 

How We Use the Passive Monitoring System

The Livindi Helper is the App on my phone. This is where I can find very much information concerning my Aunt.

Starting from the top of my phone I look at the Activity Log. It is one of the greatest benefits to me. I can see where my Aunt is and also get a very good idea of what she is doing.

 

Activity Log

Caption: Activity Log

 

I will explain with some examples.

 

At The Start of the Day . . .

I look at the app on my phone in the morning as soon as I wake up and I am able to see if she has gotten out of bed. If she has, I check to see what time she went to bed, which is 11:43 PM, and I can see she got out of bed at 7:07 AM. I know she has had a good night of sleep. There have been times when she has been wandering around at the wee hours of the morning also. When this happens, I will go over to her house and let her know that I could see that she was wandering around and ask her what was on her mind that she could not sleep and we talk it through.

We just had a huge snowstorm in Wisconsin, and my 96-year-old Aunt insisted on going to get her mail as she had always done. Her driveway is almost a block long. I was able to look at my Activity Log on my phone and see that her “Door Opened”. I waited and was getting ready to go out to see if she had fallen in the driveway, but decided to take another look at the Activity Log on my phone and saw she was in the “Door” safe and sound . . . It took her 21 minutes to get her mail. Livindi gave me “peace of mind”, and has become a great way to watch over my Aunt from near or far.

If the Activity Log shows that the door has been opened and closed in the morning and afternoon I know she has gone to get the mail and paper. I know that she has returned from getting the mail and the paper because I see activity in her home. When the Activity Log shows that the door was opened between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm, I know her meal was delivered and she eats in the kitchen.

 

Looking on my phone, there is an Alert

AlertThis is used to indicate inactivity, which could be a Fall, and this asks you to check in on the person.

At first, this alarmed me because it stated

“Aunt may have fallen since they have not had any activity between yesterday 9:27 PM and yesterday 10:42 PM. They are home and typically have 32 activities events during this period. Someone should call.”

Knowing my Aunt, many times she naps in the rocking chair in her pajamas and robe for a while and then crawls into her bed, which is a few feet away.

I did call Livindi and question this because I was so alarmed thinking she may have fallen and they responded that they want to cover everything and not miss anything. In addition, of course, we know that falls are very prevalent with our seniors.

 

Activity Level

Check markAt 4:41 pm - Next, we will see “Activity Level” with a Green Check mark indicating to me that “Aunt has been active as usual today” updated at 12:01pm.

Along with this, there will be picture of the number of Events “This Morning”, “Average Morning”, “Last Night”, “Average Night”, “Yesterday Afternoon”, “Average Afternoon”.

And, if you would like to see the Activity Level of the Events in 10 minute increments, you can tap the arrow and see how many Events occurred in each 10 minute increment. I rarely look at the 10-minute increments.

 

Eating, Humidity, Temperature, Video Calls

In my case, the green check marks are shown for the following: Activity Levels (explained above), Eating (going into the Refrigerator which has a Door Sensor), Humidity, Temperature, and Video Calls.

 

Eating dashboard

Caption: The "Eating" Dashboard.

 

Photo Sharing

The next item that appears is “Gallery Posts”. On the 10” tablet, you are able to post any type of photo you wish. We have family photos on my Aunt’s tablet and they rotate. This Alert is telling me that no one has posted anything to the Gallery in 11 days. We are ok with that.

 

Video Calls

We do Video Calls about once a week so she remains familiar and knows she can contact me and we can see each other whenever she would like. To do a Video Call or Call to me, my Aunt needs to ‘tap’ the image above my name. Then I can answer as a Telephone call or as a Video Call on my iPhone.

My Aunt does not have any devices such as a smartphone or tablet. She knows that the Tablet that is sitting on her desk is how she can contact me. I feel this is easier than FaceTime because she only has to tap my name . . . there is no other device, telephone numbers or anything else she needs to even think about . . . just the Tablet.

She uses a cordless phone and does a very good job at not answering all of the nuisance calls everyone receives. In addition, she puts it back on the charger when she is finished talking and that way it remains charged.

 

No "Cameras"

Of great benefit to my Aunt is the fact that there are NO Cameras in the home and she maintains her privacy.

 

 

Other Features

There are some other features we have not taken advantage of yet but look interesting to me:

  • Access by a team of caregivers or just a friend or family member.
  • There is an “Auto Cell Phone Alert” if there is a deviation from normal activity.
  • Concierge Services for ordering meals, flowers, groceries, transportation.
  • TeleHealth Access.
  • Wearable device that connects to Caregiver.
  • 24/7 Check-In if needed or as a backup or in an emergency.
  • 24/7 SUPPORT – Support is very RELIABLE – complete a support request or call and you will be taken care of within 24 hours or sooner depending on the issue.

 

 

Some “Issues”

There were some things that I felt were “issues”.

  • Should consider the different wall surfaces when including contact strips (this may have changed) since I recommended “Command” strips when I encountered an issue.
  • Include information and samples about how to “read between the lines” when you see the Activity Log on the app – for me it is a Livindi mindset when I read the Activity Log.

 

 

Learn More About the Livindi Product & Services

See more about Livindi, including a link to the manufacturer's website and a discount code (negotiated by Tech-enhanced Life for our readers):

 

 

Some Alternatives

I did look at the websites for EnVoy at Home and Lighthouse Caregiver Systems but decided not to look into them further. I briefly considered several other alternatives, but did not investigate them in depth.

Here is a list of possible alternate things to consider (no doubt there are more).

  • EnVoy at Home
  • Lighthouse Caregiver Systems
  • SafeInHome – currently in 5 States and accepts Medicaid Waiver
  • Snugsafe – an app that makes a quick check-in part of a daily routine
  • Google Home or Amazon Echo – smart speaker to text or call a friend or
  • Video Baby Monitors

 


 

 

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Reader Comments: "Passive Monitoring: Better Care For My 96-yr-old Aunt"

 

from faengelm (member) at April 29, 2021

Thank you for the detailed review and usage examples. 

 

from faengelm (member) at April 29, 2021

I have some questions about the extent of sleep activity tracking. You mentioned it can alert you if your Aunt gets up at a different schedule, but does it alert you if she is wandering at night? Would that just be the next day, or would it alert you during the night?

Does it track any usage of the sink or the toilet looking for changes?

I noticed two different subscription fees on the vendor's site, but I don't see any description of what they offer.

You mentioned that she can video call you, but does the app need to be open on your phone?

The vendor site mentions closed captions. Have you tried that?

Is you are using Wi-Fi or LTE?

Is there a monthly limit on video calls?

Does the fridge sensor detect a door left open?

Thanks again for the detailed write-up

Frank

 

from Andrew Chatwood (unverified) at May 09, 2021

Thanks for the detailed review. Very useful.

Discuss, Comment, Ask Questions


 

 

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Last Updated: April 30, 2021.