Monitoring & Missing Person
Concerns about safety and the fear of someone wandering can be difficult for all concerned - find out how we can help
John Osborne, Bendigo co-founder talks about the need for peace of mind when you or someone else is left on their own or at risk of going missing from home
Uncertainty about someone’s whereabouts can be a constant worry. Are they at home when they should be – are they out when they should be? Are they happily settled in bed. Are they in the kitchen but do not appear to be moving around? When we were interviewing people for our market research it was not unusual to be told by family carers that they found it difficult to relax in the evening as they were waiting for the next call to say something was not as it should be. One feature that we were asked to include in @home safe was the ability to know that a cared for person was at home and settled in bed for the night. Once family carers knew this they felt they would be able to properly relax and enjoy time to themselves.
Knowing the high stress levels of carers and the exhaustion they experience it became essential for us to respond to this request and incorporate effective monitoring systems into our system. Using the highly discrete sensors that are used in smart home technology it was possible for us to us to do this in a very discrete and sensitive way. The one thing that makes our system different is that it is completely integrated so the sensors can “talk” to the system and provide information that builds up a picture of daily activity and when this varies from normal patterns. We know if someone is not moving about, is using appliances within the home, is leaving doors open. This information allows us to communicate with the house to check that all is well and if not, alert the appropriate people that something needs to be done.
- Medication cupboard sensor
- Door security
There is nothing quite like getting the phone call to tell you that you father is missing and they are about to release details to the national press. In my case it was early December and my dad had managed to get out of the nursing home where he was in respite care giving my mum a much needed break. As resourceful as ever my dad had applied all his wits to get past the staff and out into the sub zero night. He was not wearing a coat and had only taken a little pottery dog with him. He was eventually found, hypothermic, in a hedgerow by heat seeking helicopter. He was alive and was transferred to hospital.
Having dealt with situations like this Nick and I have been extremely careful in the way we have approached the “missing person” scenario. We are highly skeptical of any devise that needs charging or batteries, that has to be carried or relies on someone taking it with them. In our experience these things never happen. Both our fathers would throw away things they were not familiar with – or take them to pieces – or throw them in the bin. Items sewn into clothing requires the particular item of clothing to be warn and there is no guarantee of that. We know of families who have bought iPhones with the “find my phone” facility who have spent hours retrieving them from neighbours gardens when they have been tossed away.
We have incorporated a function into @home safe that notifies families when someone is not at home when they are meant to be. By monitoring the movement within the property we know when someone has left and an appropriate alert can be made.