Linking presence sensors in pairs for seniors

Hi everyone,

I’ve recently been using Smartthings to help keep an eye on my elderly parents. My mother’s doing mostly ok, but my father has moderate dementia.

I’ve been using a presence sensor combined with door sensors to make sure that if he tries to leave the house in the middle of the night, it’ll turn on a few lights and alert my mother (and myself remotely through my phone). So far, that works great! (and so far, he hasn’t left - just opens and closes the door at night - phew!).

But what I’d REALLY love, is a SmartApp that would let me set an alert if my father leaves the house WITHOUT my mother. Obviously it’s fine if they go out together, but I’m worried about my dad leaving on his own - either in the middle of the night again, or during the day when my Mom’s left him alone to run errands or something.

I.E. An alert if one of two presence sensors departs the area without the other one - maybe with a variable time window I could set (likely a few minutes). Or, if presence sensor A leaves after presence sensor B has already left outside of another variable window.

Does that make sense? Can anyone lend a hand here?




This is a great idea and would extend the elderly care angle that ST is pushing right now. Although I’m not a coder, I’ll help you trumpet this. I have older in-laws. Both are fine, but I know that someday I may need to do this.

For the time being until an app is made couldn’t you just make the same rules for each of their sensors and if you get a notification for only one then you know? I don’t have any sensors aside from my phone so I don’t know how they truly work and I do think a paired app woukd be great.

Yup. Right now, I just have separate notifications for both of my parents’ sensors and just watch manually that they leave together - but an app would still be much more handy.

Also - I leave my iPhone beside my bed at night but keep it on ‘do not disturb’ so I don’t get emails, etc, pinging me all night long. I’d love a way to designate certain smartthing alerts so that they’ll make noise or wake me despite that setting…

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Unfortunately, that is a limitation of iOS. DND only allows calls from favorites to come through. There is no option for SMS or iOS notifications, although that is a great idea…especially now that people are receiving more and more important notifications on their iOS devices.

You can submit an enhancement request to Apple. And, yes, they actually do read them. A few years ago I received an email for one of mine asking for more information. I’m going to put the same request in as well right now. Suggest that others do the same if they want to see the feature. I really do think it is a great idea and ST would benefit from it a lot.

OK, just had a thought. You could get around this limitation with IFTTT. Setup a notification from ST to IFTTT via an SMS. Then, have IFTTT call your phone. Add the IFTTT phone number as a contact and to your favorites on your phone…and then you can get a phone call while in DND mode.

@Ben - ST should consider adding an IFTTT “Notification” trigger that passes the notification text to IFTTT. From there, people could do all sort of things with it, such as have a text message read over a phone call in the case above.

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I think this is a great idea. So I wrote one for you. I haven’t had a chance to test it out much, but it seems like it is working. It basically subscribes to events when one of your parents (your dad in this case) leaves without the other (your mom). There is a 1 minute offset built in too.

In addition to monitoring two parents, this could be used with a child to make sure they don’t leave without a parent.

Try it out and let me know if you have any questions/comments/improvements!

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@Sraxs - A simple question that I might have missed - how do you ensure your dad has a presence sensor on him? Does he always grab something and you tagged that item? I’m curious in case I need to do this for my parents.

That’s really cool! I haven’t played with IFTTT yet (just made an account recently) but I will now - and see how that works. Looking at it, I also like the idea of logging stuff like how often my dad gets up in the middle of the night - might be a good way to watch for trends over time…

And I submitted feedback to apple as well.

Thanks for the idea!


Right now, he still always remembers to have his keychain with him during the day - lifelong habits like that seem to stick. At night, I’m more counting on the door sensors to alert myself and family about him leaving alone (which, like I said, hasn’t happened yet).

There’s some neat tech coming for seniors (and I supposed anyone in danger of wandering off) involving tiny SIM card radios with assisted GPS - so you can easily log in online and find out the wearer’s location instantly. But right now, they’re still a little too large and need to be built into shoes that require charging every couple of days. Even the fob-sized ST presence sensor could be smaller…

But I figure, in a few years, this kind of tech will be small enough to put in a watch, or bracelet, or ring or something like that - ideally solving the problem of ‘wandering’ seniors for good (so I hope).


Holy cow! This is amazing! Thanks a ton for taking this on Matt. My mother gets back soon so I’ll dig in and give it a try over the next few weeks and let you know how it works.

Makes me think I need to learn how to code!


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I think this is a create concept (for using as it was first designed to be used) but also to be used to make sure people don’t forget things when leaving the house.

Set it up so that when your phone presence sensor leaves the house, it will alert you if say your keys (with an ST sensor attached to it) and/or your laptop (again somehow with an ST presence sensor), or anything else, is left behind.

Would be great to know if I forgot something in the morning before getting to work/wherever and then realizing it.


I can’t seem to find this smart app on your git hub and since it is truncated here I can’t just copy it from here. Sorry for the necro thread but this app would be perfect for me right now.

EDIT - sorry found it - here is an updated link for anyone else