Couch Potato Alerts

By:  Frank Engelman   |  Posted: February 11, 2022   |  Updated: April 18, 2023

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The Problem to be Solved

Spends too Much Time on the Couch

Spends too Much Time on the Couch

If you are looking for a way to help grandpa in remembering to get up and stretch, I have a solution for you. In fact, I’m guilty of spending most of my day on the couch and use this solution to remind me to get up and stretch at least once an hour. I’ve been using this for about a year now and I find that it really helps.

Solution Details


Here is my solution for a way to help me avoid sitting for too long on the couch — an occupational hazard for some retirees.

In this couch potato solution, I have it set up so that if I spend too long sitting it:

  • beeps;
  • speaks to me with a prerecorded message in the voice of my choosing;
  • turns on a special light to remind me it is time for a stretch.


See the Couch Potato Solution in action in this video.



Simplest Solution


Caption- Chair pressure mat with sensor and receiver


The simplest solution consists of a pressure sensitive mat that is used on wheelchairs in facilities, connected to a sensor that sends wireless signals to a receiver. The sensor detects that I’ve been sitting there for an adjustable time, one hour in my case, then the receiver alerts me that it’s time to get up.

That’s great, but my grandpa would NOT understand beeps as a warning to get up



Better than “Beeps”

In addition to “beeps”, I used a YoLink SpeakerHub (receiver) that can provide spoken messages to your grandpa to encourage him to get up. You can personalize these messages even greeting him by name.



Hard of Hearing

Whoops, my grandpa is hard of hearing

You can add a YoLink smart plug that can turn on a special light to let him know it’s time for a stretch. In my case I use the “couch potato” light to get my attention



Setting it Up

OK, what does it take to do this?

Since all the hardware is YoLink, you can adjust the sitting duration and change the spoken reminder with just two YoLink automations.

After you create your loved one’s YoLink account, and add the devices per the YoLink setup guide, then type in the YoLink automations shown in the KitList

The amount of time he is detected sitting and the actual messages are adjusted by you in the YoLink mobile app. This can even be done remotely if you log into his YoLink account. Please note that there is a maximum delay of 60 minutes and a maximum number of 3 delay steps in the current YoLink firmware.


Caption- Water leak sensor used as chair pad sensor


The “pad sensor” used is actually a YoLink water leak sensor and it’s sensing the chair pad contact closure as a “water Leak”


The Kit List

To find the exact products mentioned below, and see the routines mentioned, go to our kit list page:



Configuring the Software

Specific apps mentioned here can be found in the Kit List (see above).

  • Install the YoLink mobile app for IOS or Android on your phone.
  • Create a YoLink account for your loved one
  • The steps to configure SpeakerHub and devices are covered in the manuals provided in the YoLink box

Caption- YoLink automation couch occupied

Caption- YoLink Automation couch unoccupied

Tips & Tricks

1. Chair pad would not be very comfortable if used loose on the couch. I’d suggest a thin pad over it. Just be careful that it doesn’t get wedged up or it could cause false readings.
2. You may want to add additional sounds or spoke messages in the YoLink automations when your loved one sits down or gets up.

For example:

  • When first sitting down- “Grandpa, a little rest now”
  • When getting up- “Grandpa, enjoy your stretch”


3. If you find that your loved one seems to ignore the light or the initial verbal reminder, you might want to consider add a repeating reminder. This can be done by:

  • Setting the Alert Interval on the pad sensor to the repeat time you want, e.g. 5 minutes
  • Creating a scene that flashes the light and speaks a different reminder
  • Creating an alarm strategy that triggers that scene
  • Disabling the alarm strategy as the pad is occupied
  • Enabling the alarm strategy as the initial timeout occurs
  • Disabling the alarm strategy as the pad becomes unoccupied


Caption- Alert interval

Caption- Alarm strategy

Caption- Couch too long scene





The Kit List

To find the exact products mentioned below, and see the routines mentioned, go to our kit list page:




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