Bluetooth Separation Alert as Perimeter Alarm

By:  Frank Engelman   |  Posted: October 16, 2020   |  Updated: April 19, 2023

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The Problem to be Solved

Dementia Patient Wanders (Living at Home)

Dementia Patient Wanders (Living at Home)

Your loved one tends to wander out of the yard when you aren’t looking. She has dementia, and you worry she will get lost.

Although you could get an elderly GPS tracker, they may refuse to wear it, and cell coverage in your area might not be reliable.

Solution Details

I have been using Bluetooth tracker tags to find TV remotes and other missing items. I was hoping to use the tag’s separation alert feature to help my brother track his wife, who has Alzheimer’s, when she wanders out of their yard. I found a solution, after some effort.

My first thought was to use those tiny Bluetooth tracker tags that are for finding car keys, as they have a feature that will alert your phone if you leave something behind.

Unfortunately, the major tag manufacturers are NOT supporting detecting if the tag moved, but the phone stays stationary. I thought that would be an excellent Use Case for getting an alert if someone took your laptop bag at a coffee shop, but the manufacturers have no interest. One even said they excluded that by design as a benefit!

After testing MANY Bluetooth tracker devices, we finally found one that, if attached to your wandering loved one, will sound a repeating alert on a smartphone. This particular device is tiny (1.4” * 2.4”) and very thin (0.11”) and, if attached to a clip, can be discreetly placed on your non-compliant loved one.


See the Solution in Action in this Video




After I tested the “separation” alert feature on several Bluetooth tags, I found that they alert you only if you left the tag behind. They did NOT provide a separation alert if the phone stayed stationary, and the tag moved away!


Not all Bluetooth Tags Worked For This Use Case

I found that MANY tags did NOT provide the separation alert that I needed when just the tag moved.

These tags did not work for this specific “use case”, although I have found several of them to work well for other situations.

  • Tile
  • Chipolo
  • TrackR
  • CUBE
  • Pebblebee
  • Cubitag


These Tags Allowed My Idea to “Work”

However, The following two tags did give an alert when the tag moved away from the phone:

  • Rinex
  • Wopin (GoFinder app)

See these tags and the clip we used on Amazon at Rinex and Wopin and the clip we used.   [affiliate links]




My son mounted the Wopin Bluetooth tag inside a Fitbit clip, and it’s ready for testing.


Caption: Bluetooth tag and clip “ready to go”.



Initial Results

In our testing here around the home, we found that it set off a separation alert on a phone if we moved the tag about 50 feet away from the phone.

We have not yet had a chance to evaluate how well this works in a “real world” situation with a person with dementia.


Want To Hear When We Finish This Evaluation?

To get notified when we publish more work like this relating to gadgets for dementia and more:


Learn More

For more information, you can learn about my personal experience solving Alzheimer’s wandering, and read an overview of a broad range of solutions at “Location Devices and Trackers for Dementia“.




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2 thoughts on “Bluetooth Separation Alert as Perimeter Alarm”

  1. I need something to attach to
    I need something to attach to my mother’s walker and something corresponding for her to wear so that if she tries to get up and walk without her walker, it sounds an alarm. (So the distance and time before it goes off would both have to be extremely short.) Thank you so much for any suggestions!

  2. I haven’t found any product

    I haven't found any product that provides a separation alert without the use of a phone, but there was an attempt made on a wearable device by:

    I-Tell Alert    

    As an alternative to a separation alert, would a nearby device that verbally reminded her "to use her walker" when she got up from a chair or bed be useful?