Solution: Gentle, audible reminder to wash hands and flush the toilet

By: Frank Engelman.  Updated: May 20, 2021.


The Problem: Forgets to Wash Hands, Flush Toilet

My mother (with dementia) wakes up often in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and forgets to wash her hands/flush the toilet. She often forgets during the day as well..... More about the Problem


Solution: Gentle, audible reminder to wash hands and flush the toilet

I have a suggestion that involves using an Alexa Routine to prompt your mom when she enters the bathroom. This uses a simple Echo Flex with a motion sensor to trigger a routine to speak a friendly reminder to wash her hands and flush the toilet.

I personally use this solution to turn on/off the bathroom lights and give me a reminder of the day of the week. I also added a touchless faucet and touchless soap dispenser to make hand washing “fun” and to be sure the water gets turned off.

We have all seen those automatic toilet flushers in commercial facilities, but the only models I have found for home use require an expensive toilet as a replacement. I have seen several DIY type toilet flushers that work with the “handle-lever with pull-chain” type flushers, but unfortunately my toilet has those mechanical push button rod-type flushers.

See a more detailed discussion of this solution, including an automatic flushing capability, at this companion piece of research:



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



Discuss this solution


from claudiacapo (member) at March 21, 2021

Hi Frank,

Thanks for your reply. I got really excited about your solution and then noticed the Echo Flex with Smart Motion Sensor is no longer available. I'm hoping it has not been discontinued. I have yet to explore Alexa routines, but I'm going to soon. I also like the ideas of the touchless faucet and soap dispenser. 



from faengelm (member) at March 21, 2021

I don't believe its discontinued, but just out of stock since it had 85k positive reviews

You can get it on eBay, if you can't wait for it to be back in stock




from faengelm (member) at March 27, 2021

I have some good news! As of this morning, its back in stock on US Amazon (see link above)


from Anonymous (unverified) at March 28, 2021

Thanks for letting me know! I jumped on the opportunity and purchased two. I will let you know how it turns out.


from Martin  (unverified) at April 01, 2021

I am thinking that it might be helpful to add a delay after motion is triggered, before the announcement is made. Admittedly it will not be perfect, but hopefully it might mean the message is played nearer to the moment when you want to prompt your mum.


from faengelm (member) at April 02, 2021

Hi Martin,

I agree that placing delays at the proper times is very important. This will require some trial and error testing and may change over day versus night.

I'd really like to detect toilet flush and trigger the wash hands reminder with a delay after that event.

What I'd ultimately want is an auto-flush toilet with that delayed reminder.




from Anonymous (unverified) at May 21, 2021

Hi Martin, and Frank -

I agree with you both. I was not successful in setting up the motion sensor when I received it, but it is nice to have that small Alexa speaker in the bathroom. I may try to set it up again this weekend. The issue was getting it to connect with the app that it comes with for setup. It couldn't detect the sensor.



from faengelm (member) at May 20, 2021

Hi claudiacapo,

We have just published an article on how to add an auto-flush kit to an existing toilet that may help your mom.

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Target customers & users: 
Aging individuals, Family of the aging
How important is it?: 
Moderate problem
Filed as: 
Key words: