Solution: Dementia Bed Minder

By: Frank Engelman.  Updated: November 19, 2021.

 

The Problem: Nocturnal Wandering by Dementia Patient

For those of us caring for a loved one with dementia, nocturnal bed exits can be an overwhelming problem. The problem gets even worse if the person with dementia leaves the house at night without anyone knowing..... More about the Problem


 

Solution: Dementia Bed Minder

In previous articles, we discussed several methods to mitigate home exits and tracking those who may manage to wander.

Here we describe a specific solution we have implemented to the problem of nocturnal wandering by people with dementia.

This solution notes when a person with dementia gets out of bed, and can

  • guide the person to the bathroom;
  • remind them to return to bed if they stay up longer than desired; and
  • alert a caregiver if they stay up too long; but
  • avoid unnecessary alerts if the activity is within parameters set by the caregiver.

 

See the Dementia Bed Minder in Action

The first layer of functionality is to help "grandpa" find the bathroom, if that is why he gets out of bed — without involving a caregiver at all!

 

Here is a video showing the bathroom guidance

 

 

Reminders and Notifications

The second layer of functionality includes:

  • reminders to return to bed; and
  • notifications to a caregiver if "grandpa" stays up "too long" (all adjustable of course).

 

 

 

Existing Sub-optimal Solutions

Current bed exit systems use either uncomfortable “institutional bed pads” or easily misaligned IR type motion sensors.

Most of them just sound an alarm, although a few can play a recorded message. However, they do not allow the setting of a time-period, tracking of these events, and have very low-quality sound systems.

In addition, they don’t control lighting.

 

Bed sensor pad

Caption- Uncomfortable Bed sensor pad placed under sheets

 

IR Bed sensor

Caption- Limited function IR motion sensor

 

 

My Approach: The Details

'The solution in this article is based on the Tochtech Sleepsense bed sensor that was covered in “Smart Bedroom Features for Older Adults”

 

This approach can provide a less jarring bed exit alarm by using either a text-to-speech generated message or a recording of a family member’s or caregiver’s voice through a Tochtech Tochie speaker rather than a beeping alarm.

 

The instructions below on Tochtech Sleepsense, Tochtech Tochie, IFTTT applets and Alexa Routines will guide you through the setup.

 

Bathroom door light

Caption- Bathroom Door Light

 

 

Setting it Up

The Tochtech Sleepsense mobile app allows the setting of many notifications, but we will be using the In-bed, Off-bed, and Not-Returning-to-bed notifications

 

Tochtech sleep sense settings

Caption- Tochtech Sleepsense settings

 

Note that you can set the period to be monitored and the amount of time a loved one is allowed to be out of bed before the caregiver is alerted.

These notifications are delivered to a smartphone, but also can be used as triggers in IFTTT applets (Routines) which in turn can provide verbal alerts to both the loved one and the caregiver through Tochtech Tochie speakers.

 

IFTT Applets for Sleepsense

Caption: IFTT Applets

 

The second Tochtech Tochie provides a means to let an in-home caregiver know if the loved one remains out of bed past a certain period. This will prevent unnecessary alarms to the caregiver, if the loved one returns to bed within a set period. This uses a verbal notification for an in-home caregiver and a smart phone notification for remote family members using the IFTTT applet shown above.

 

 

Kit List

To see the specific products and Alexa routines used in this solution, see the kit list below.

 

 

More Like This

This is part of a series of "Problems" and DIY Technology "Solutions" to the challenges faced by older adults, by Frank Engelman. 

 


 

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Beyond this, we have no financial interest in the products discussed here, and this article is not sponsored or supported in any way by any product vendor. See How we Fund our Work.

 

 

Target customers & users: 
Family of the aging
How important is it?: 
Big problem
Key words: