Dementia Door Minder

By:  Frank Engelman   |  Posted: December 10, 2021   |  Updated: April 18, 2023

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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


The Dementia Door Minder is a solution to the problem that arises when a person with dementia gets up at night, leaves the house, and wanders off.


Oh, Grandpa is trying to open the front door in the middle of the night … again

If your loved one tends to go to the front door at night and opens it to look outside, this can cause you serious concerns. What to do?


Here is a video showing the Dementia Door Minder in action

This solution uses automation to encourage the person to return to bed, rather than using “locks” to prevent them leaving, or “alerts” to wake a caregiver to chase after them — although it can also include alerts.





Locks and Alarms Have Limitations

If you search the Internet, the typical solutions suggested for this problem involve door locks and or alarms. However, in my experience both of these approaches have limitations.


  1. While you could put difficult to open locks on the door, what if it is an emergency?
  2. Some people have tried putting simple motion sensors that sound an alarm when the loved one goes near the door, but there are several issues. For example, the alarm only really helps if there is someone nearby who can rush out and persuade the person with dementia not to leave the house. otherwise, by the time you hear the alarm and react, they are gone.

Below is an example of a simple motion alarm. For some situations, this might be sufficient.


Caption- Limited function IR motion sensor



Stand-alone “Greeter”

You can buy a simple stand alone solution including a motion sensor and then a “greeter” that plays a message when motion is detected. See the Kit List for the exact product we looked at.

However, there are several issues with this approach.

  • There is no way to set it for time of day. If it goes off during the daytime, it will become annoying
  • There is no easy way to adjust the volume
  • The voice quality on this type of device is only fair
  • There is no way to keep track of the number of occurrences
  • There is no way to get an alert on your mobile device



My Solution: Discourage Them from Leaving.

The approach I prefer is to use automatation to sense motion and then to discourage your loved one from opening the door at night without preventing emergency exits.

In this solution, I will cover a visual and verbal means to encourage them to not go outside at night (shown in the video at the top of the page).


The solution in this article is based on using a YoLink motion sensor that is only active during the nighttime as well as lights on the actual entry door and a speaker.

This can provide a less jarring door 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.


Caption: Entry Door Light


Caption: Sensor and light clip mounts

This is an out-of-the-way place to mount the light and sensor. It also lights up the whole door, verses just a light somewhere near the door.


Caption- speaker mount (Picture speaker mount)

The Tochie speaker can play sounds, a person’s voice or a text-to-speech message




Kit List for this Solution

See the Kit List for the Products and Routines etc Needed to Implement This.




Here is the basic flow of the software:

1. YoLink Motion sensor detects motion and triggers Alexa Routine


Caption- Alexa Routine turns on light and sends IFTTT trigger


2. See sample routine from Kit List that:

  • Turns on Toucan Light
  • Triggers IFTTT applet


Caption- IFTTT applet causes Tochie to speak


Caption: Tochie plays the stored message


3. See second routine (kit list) that:

  • Turns off Toucan Light.



Caption: YoLink detect no motion- Alexa Routine turns off the Toucan light 



Kit List for this Solution

See the Kit List for the Products and Routines etc Needed to Implement This.




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