Dementia Bed Minder

By:  Frank Engelman   |  Posted: November 19, 2021   |  Updated: April 18, 2023

When you buy something we recommend, we may get an affiliate commission — but it never affects your price or what we pickLearn more

The Problem to be Solved

Nocturnal Wandering by Dementia Patient

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.

Solution Details


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.


Caption- Uncomfortable Bed sensor pad placed under sheets


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.


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


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.


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.



*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.