Theora Care, Theora Connect : Review

By:  Editorial Team   |  Posted: February 9, 2021   |  Updated: December 21, 2023

The Basics

  • Product: Theora Connect
  • Company: Theora Care
  • Review Date:  Q1 2021. Updated Dec. 2023. 

Where to buy it or learn more*:

Discount for Tech-enhanced Life readers:

  • Discount code: TECHLIFE
  • Discount amount:  10% 

[* affiliate relationship: When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more]

Analyst Summary: Theora Care   |  Theora Connect


The Theora Connect is a smartwatch designed to be used by older adults — especially those with mild cognitive impairment or dementia.

The manufacturer / developer (Theora Care) has gone to a lot of trouble to think through exactly how such a product would be used in this difficult circumstance, and has included a number of features we really like.

The Theora Connect is one of a number of products in the “dementia tracking devices” category that we compared in “Location Devices and Trackers for Dementia“. If you are interested in this category of product, we recommend you look at that comparative review.

Theora Care also makes a modified version of this product designed to act as a medical alert. At present, the medical alert version of the product is available from Bay Alarm Medical and is called the SOS Smartwatch. The product we evaluated included the features of both the SOS Smartwatch and the Theora Connect. In this review we discuss the Theora Connect, but if you are interested in the medical alert version, see this review of the SOS Smartwatch product.

UPDATE Dec. 2023: As of late 2023, this product has added fall detection, and you can now buy it from Theora Care with the fall detection capability. This means it really functions as a type of medical alert, as well as for the dementia-related purpose we evaluated when we first tried out the product in 2021.



The Pluses

We like the way this product looks. It is far from the ugly, stigmatizing, conventional “old person product” to which we have become accustomed.

And by combining dementia tracking, a watch, and step counting, it combines being “useful for the older adult” with being “useful for a caregiver”.

The key feature of this product is its ability to help care for a person with cognitive impairment or dementia. This is discussed in more detail below.

One of the advantages of this type of “smart watch” is that extra features can be added with software updates. So, if you are reading this after our initial review date, check the list of features on the company’s website to see if extra features (eg weather) have been added.

It has a very easy-to-use clasp, which is a weakness of some competing products for older adults with conditions like arthritis.

UPDATE Nov. 2023: In 2023, Theora added a fall detection algorithm to this product which is an important improvement.




The Minuses

In our hands-on exploration of this product by our Longevity Explorers, some of the women felt it was “a bit big”, but better than many of its competitors. All of the men thought its size was fine.

In terms of smartwatch capabilities, it has step counting capability (and can tell the time of course). But it lacks the weather, which many smartwatch-using older adults like, and has none of the many “extra apps that a full featured smartwatch (like an Apple watch) has.

UPDATE Nov. 2023: We believe the product now includes weather.


Finding / Tracking People

We evaluated this product by having one explorer wear it as they went out and about in the neighborhood, while a “carer” kept an eye on the caregiving app, and periodically tested whether or not it knew where the wearer of the watch was. We did “checkins” where the carer called the watch wearer to see where they thought they were, and compared that with what the app told us.

While our testing was somewhat limited in extent (10 separate tests), as far as we could tell the watch and the app worked well and we were able in each case to see more or less where the “wearer” of the watch was, although the GPS location technology is not “perfect” (in several cases the location was off by a few houses).

The app lets you set geofencing “zones”, and sends notifications when the watch enters or leaves those zones.



Will They Wear It

A key question for a dementia tracker is whether or not the person being “tracked” will wear the device.

The Theora Care approach is to make a “familiar” product (a “watch”), and include some features potentially useful for a person with mild cognitive impairment (fitness, time, and phone calls), and hope that makes it “desirable” or “familiar”.

The product also comes (optionally) with a “locking clasp” that can only be undone with a “tool”, preventing a person with dementia removing it without help.

No doubt, this approach will work for some people but not for others. We don’t know of any way to tell without trying it out on a specific individual.


Caption: Locking clasps. Bottom L: Watch with unlocking tool (blue); Top L: Normal clasp. Top R: “Special “locking clasp”. Bottom R: Using tool to unlock clasp.


The Details

Here are some of the key details about the product.


Charging and Batteries

The watch drops onto a simple magnetic charging station. It charges fairly quickly (1-2 hours ), and is fairly easy to position the watch for charging.

In our testing, the battery lasted for less than a day when we wore it continuously, averaging about 20 hours. This is not “ideal”, but fairly typical for this category of smartwatch as medical alert.

The right way to think about this is to consider exactly how you would use the product.

  • If you use it during the day but take it off at night, this battery life should be fine.
  • If you want something you can wear “24/7 and never take off”, this product will not be suitable.
  • If you fit an “in between” category where you want to wear it all day and night, but take it off daily for an hour or two to charge, then the battery life of this product will be a bit marginal, at least it was in our test conditions.


Appearance and Ease of Use

This is an especial advantage of this product.

Apart from some comments about it “being a bit big”, the Longevity Explorers who looked at the product generally thought it had a modern aesthetic and was attractive in appearance, and looked “well made”, rather than “looking cheap” as did some of the competitors.

Caption: Theora Connect touch screens. L-R: Analog watch face; Date and time watch face; Smartwatch feature screen; Pedometer screen.


Works Everywhere?

The SOS Smartwatch connects via a cell signal (in the watch itself) and uses the 4G LTE network of either AT&T or T Mobile (it can work on either, depending on which SIM card is in it when it ships). This means it will work anywhere there is cell reception for the carrier. If you only get reception from one or other of these carriers, be sure to mention that if you buy the product.

It does NOT require you to have a smartphone.


Vision & Hearing Issues

The face of the watch is bright, crisp, and easy to read. With the analog face in particular, it is easy to read the time, even without one’s reading glasses.

When making a call, the sound is clear and fairly loud.


Smartwatch Features

The watch has a choice of several watch faces, including a digital face with large numbers, and an analog face with “hands”.

The watchface is a touchscreen, which means the company could potentially add additional features in the future with software updates.

It has a basic step counting capability, but no other smartwatch capabilities beyond “telling the time”.

The version we tested also has the ability to call people: either just a whitelisted group of people added to an adress book, or anyone you like using a dialpad on the face of the phone.


Special Dementia Features

This product has several “extra features” that are extremely relevant to the use case of a person with dementia.

  1. It comes with a (optional) locking clasp (see above). This is a frequently requested feature for this type of product.
  2. You can acquire a separate “beacon” that connects to the watch. This is a very useful feature (see below).
  3. Adjusting the “settings” requires a password, which prevents the wrong person adjusting the settings.
  4. One of the watch faces (see image above) has a nice, large, crisp, digital display that includes day and date and time. This may help for the person with cognition issues who forgets which day it is and becomes unsure of the time of day. And it may help save the caregiver from having to answer repeated questions about that topic.


Proximity Beacon

A typical problem for those caring for dementia patients is when the person with dementia “elopes” (ie leaves the building unexpectedly).

The “beacon” is a small round object that can be stuck on a wall or under a table. The beacon connects via Bluetooth to the Theora Connect watch. When the watch moves more than a certain distance from the beacon, the bluetooth connection “triggers an alert” — in the form of a notification to a designated caregiver.

Caption: Theora Connect Beacon.


The separation distance is somewhere between 75 -100 ft, so quite close, yet large enough to cover a moderate size house.

A typical use case for this is to put the beacon somewhere near a front door. Then when the watch “leaves the house”, the beacon sends an alert to the caregiver (via text and via the caregiving app).

We tested this feature, although not in great depth. As far as we could tell it worked exactly as required, and gave us an alert when our “watch wearer” left the house.

A key aspect of this is that it alerts “rapidly”, whereas technologies relying on GPS update more slowly. And it does not require line-of-sight to GPS satellites, so can work indoors.

While we were testing the beacon, we noted that the battery life on the watch seemed to have become shorter. In a day on which we were wearing the watch all day, and going in and out of the house past the beacon a handful of times, the watch battery ran low after about 12 hours (compared to more like 20 hours earlier in our testing before we connected the beacon).

So, this may be a downside of using the beacon.


Can You Wear it in the Shower?

It has a water resistant rating of IP67, which means “(up to 1 meter for 30 minutes)”. So, it should be fine to wear in the shower, alhough not when you go for a swim.


Caregiving App

The Theora Connect comes with an accompanying “caregiver app” called the Theora Link.

To use the Theora Link, the caregiver needs to have a smartphone, although the older adult wearing the Theora Connect smartwatch does not need a smartphone.

The app seemed to work well. We did not evaluate it in depth for features like privacy and ease of use, so if you try it out, please add comments below.


Use as a Medical Alert

Update 2024: With the addition of fall detection, and the ability for it to send a message re a fall to the caregivers, this product can fill many of the features of a medical alert.

However, this product works a bit differently to most smartwatch medical alerts.

The service you buy from Theoracare does not include an ability to call the call center or 911 that other medical alerts can call. Instead, when the product detects a fall or you press the emergency button, it messages caregivers, who then decide what to do and call 911 if needed.

If you do need the more conventional medical alert functionality, this same product is available with that call center capability from Bay Alarm Medical, where it is called the SOS Smartwatch. (See our SOS Smartwatch review).



Pricing for this sort of product varies with time, so you should not rely on this section as the last word on pricing. However here are the prices updated as of Dec. 2023.

  • Upfront cost to buy the Theora Connect wearable only: $248
  • Monthly service fee: $30
  • There are extra costs for some of the accessories mentioned in this review.



Where to buy it or learn more*: (this takes you away from our website)

Theora Connect watch

Discount for Tech-enhanced Life readers:

  • Discount code: TECHLIFE
  • Discount amount:  10% 

[* affiliate relationship: When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more]

*Disclosure: The research and opinions in this article are those of the author, and may or may not reflect the official views of Tech-enhanced Life.

If you use the links on this website when you buy products we write about, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate or other affiliate program participant. This does not affect the price you pay. We use the (modest) income to help fund our research.

In some cases, when we evaluate products and services, we ask the vendor to loan us the products we review (so we don’t need to buy them). Beyond the above, Tech-enhanced Life has no financial interest in any products or services discussed here, and this article is not sponsored by the vendor or any third party. See How we Fund our Work.

13 thoughts on “Theora Care, Theora Connect”

  1. It would bebhelpful to
    It would bebhelpful to include the cost of the monthly service in your reviews as well as the cost of rhe device when reviewed. Thanks

    • Because pricing changes we

      Because pricing changes we usually dont try and include current pricing info. But see above for pricing when we did the evaluation.

  2. Can I change the band? I’m
    Can I change the band? I’m not sure if my mom will wear a black watch because she wears a colorful one now, so I am hoping I can change the band to a pretty color.

  3. this watch would be for my
    this watch would be for my father who is has been declining with Alzheimers.
    He is still active in his neighborhood but need GPS tracking for him. He uses a flip phone for calls so Identity Tag and GPS are crucial as needing a larger face watch.
    Is the face of the watch sensitive to touch and if so is there a way to lock the screen?
    thank you,

  4. Is it possible to get a
    Is it possible to get a larger wristband? I bought my SmartWatch from Medical Guardian last month. They have two sizes, Large and X-large but the latter is still too small for my wrist. Please advise.

    • Hi Rick, we do have a band

      Hi Rick, we do have a band extender that might help. Please contact our support at 512-371-6164 and they will be happy to help you!

  5. My spouse is in later stage
    My spouse is in later stage dementia but very active. Will this watch & app pair with my Samsung 8 android phone. He unexpectedly rode bike 25 mi,resulting in Silver alert. Bikes are now secured but need a 15 mi walking radius mapping capability.

    • Hi JoAnn,
      Hi JoAnn,
      Yes, the Theora Link app will work on your phone. In the Theora Link app you can set Safe Zones of up to 1/2 mile in diameter. This would give you an alert if your husband left a Safe Zone set up around your house. If I understand you correctly, and he wanders a fair distance, the GPS tracking on the watch will give his current location to you, even if he is miles away. If you have any further questions, may I suggest you call our customer support line and speak with them directly? They are great and, as caregivers, they are very eager to help a fellow caregiver.

      Thank you!

  6. I have US Cellular service &
    I have US Cellular service & A Samsung 8 phone will this be compatible with this watch

  7. Does anyone have any evidence
    Does anyone have any evidence about this company’s customer and technical support? Can you call on the phone and get prompt help from a human? on weekends?

  8. Hello John, 

    Hello John, 

    Shelley Symonds from Theora Care here. We do have real folks that answer our support line, 512.371.6164. Our support team is made up of caregivers, like most of us at the company, and we are eager to answer any questions you have. Please note that Theora Care™ support hours are Monday-Friday, 8am – 5pm CST, and Saturdays 10am – 4pm CST.

    Thank you for the inquiry,