SmartThings Community

No Motion for a period of Time- Elderly Care


Yep. And I 100% agree a simple custom app is miles easier to understand than a combination of multiple HHAs some of which have to be revisited after set up to take out something you didn’t want to put in the first place.

But it’s always good to know when something can be done officially if only because you can then bug support if it breaks.

We so need an official rules engine!

(Jeff May) #42

Just some comments to the original use case, since we (VA hospital) got mentioned in the post.

We recognize the need as we had a quadraplegic whose caregiver wife passed away and no one knew for 3 days. We were not looking to solve the issue with SmartThings because our patients wear tags that track them to within 8-10 inches using Ultrawideband tags. Even if we use motion detectors we actually push sensor data to our own services / database for integrated processing with other data so we would probably process that data on our own server. One data that we are looking forward to integrating is Life360 once they release their API.

Even before then, it might be really good for you to put Life360 on your mom’s phone and yours.

(chuck) #43

Just wanted to let you know your information was extremely helpful. We have a household member who has epilepsy. I was able to to use this to set up my hue lights to turn red when she was in-active for too long. This fired perfectly for me and I was able to give her care immediately during a recent attack. Thank you so much! Your information can be literally a life-saver. Thanks again.


This functionality was exactly what I was looking for too, and bravenel, your code convinced me that, even though I couldn’t find a pre-made solution, it was doable, and worth diving in and buying the equipment. Thank you!

I was surprised to discover, however, that (at least in version 2.0.6 of the iOS SmartThings app), there was a SmartApp in the marketplace, under “Elder Care”, called “Daily Routine” that did exactly this! Setup was quick and easy - I simply filled out all of the criteria and said apply it when in “Home” mode, and set the “Home” and “Away” modes to be triggered by the presence sensor (using the “I’m Back” and “Goodbye” routines). I now receive a text message if there has been no motion between the set times (if in “Home” mode). I even added in the Aeon Labs panic button (, which has its own SmartApp, and will also text me if pressed or held.

I now also know that if I can’t find a pre-existing solution, one can almost always be made!

Looks like the SmartThings ecosystem just keeps getting better and better!

(Jonathan H) #45

Hello - I am new to this forum - I have been trawling the internet to find an application like this.

Here’s my use case. My mother lives about 200 miles away from me. She’s in her 80s, and she’s very healthy. But she lives alone.

I would like to receive alerts (email, SMS or via app on phone) if she is inactive for a period of time. This is especially in case she falls when she’s home alone. (I’ve tried to get her to adopt a panic button, but so far she’s not keen.)

I only need one sensor - in her kitchen. She will go there three or four times a day at least, so all I need is a rule that says something like “If no motion detected between 0700 and 1300, and 1400 and 1800, then send alert.” I can then do the rest. Or an alternative would be “If no motion detected in any 12 hour period, then send an alert” (although less ideal because of the complications of night-time hours and sleeping.)

It looks like SmartThings might have the answers. I’m hoping you can help me ascertain this as I haven’t any SmartThings products and I don’t want to spend money on them only to find it doesn’t work.

She has an iphone and so do I.

My questions are:

  1. What’s the minimum physical kit I need to monitor the above use case in the kitchen? Do I need just a hub and a single motion sensor? And is there a subscription to pay for as well as the kit - how much would that be?
  2. Looking at all the conversation above, it’s hard for me to be absolutely sure that this use case is configurable. I’m reasonably comfortable with simple programming, so I don’t mind fooling around a bit to get it right. Can anyone give me assurance that it could be configured, and if so, would you be kind enough to explain how?
  3. What format (or formats) can I receive the alert in? Email? Phone app? SMS?

Thank you so much for all your help.


It can definitely be done with webcore (see the FAQ below, that’s a clickable link), you just need to understand that SmartThings does have outages and glitches more than some other systems in a similar price range. So it’s good for convenience notifications, but it’s not something you would use for a normal medical monitoring system.

That said, since in your own case A false alert would mean that you thought your mother hadn’t been in the kitchen when she actually had, I don’t think it’s raising a lot of additional safety issues. Just annoyance ones. So it might well be worth trying.

As far as minimum kit required, you would need

The smartthings hub (any version)

A single motion sensor, if you’re in the US the one sold at Lowes are very popular and generally cost less than $30. If you are in the UK, everything is generally more expensive, but you should be able to get a Z wave motion sensor that will work with SmartThings for around £40.

And since you would probably want to distinguish between your mother being in the house and out of the house, such is at the doctor’s or shopping, it would be helpful if your mother either had a smart phone or if you got the SmartThings arrival sensor ($30) so that the hub would know if she was home or away.

No subscription is required, but the system will only work when the Internet works, so she does have to have Internet at her house.


Has anyone recently tried to install the Smart Care: Daily Routine SmartApp lately? I’m trying to set up a monitoring situation for my mother, very similar to the original poster, and I’ve known this app was in SmartThings since I first got my hub a few years back.

But it looks like there may be a UI bug? I start to configure the app (which now makes you confirm a disclaimer that SmartThings isn’t a platform for critical use cases) and you can set everything on the main screen - which sensors to watch, timeframe, etc. - but there is no button on the upper right to commit the changes. I’m wondering if the name of the smartapp is too long, and that creates a UI bug which overwrites the Done or Save button that should be in the upper right.

I’ve tried this with two different iPhones, so I don’t think it’s my phone.

EDIT: No sooner had I taken a few minutes to post this, I went back to my phone and unlocked it (it had gone to sleep and locked) and now the Save button was in the upper right. So I do think there’s a UI bug - but there is a work-around. I’ll leave this post here in case anyone else runs into the same.

(Hannah ) #48

hi, I was wondering if you could tell me where I would get the HHA function? Is it a separate app or is it an extension? Sorry I’m fairly new to the SmartThings world.
I work for a charity that works to help older people live at home. We’ve set up SmartThings hubs in a few different hubs, I’m currently researching different alerts we can set up. I’m trying to figure out a way to set alerts if there’s been no motion in the home for a couple days, or if there’s no motion in a certain room for a couple hours. Any insights or suggestions would be really helpful, thank you!

(Bill S.) #49

For your scenario, HHA wouldn’t really work out that well. However, what you could use is a Routine with no actions:

Create a routine and in the “Automatically perform” menu, select “Things quiet down”. Choose your motion sensor(s) and the duration you want and then hit save. Once you do that, tick “Push notification” and add any SMS numbers you want to send to as well. That will give you a basic notification when there has been no motion on a sensor or group of sensors (if you are doing something like monitoring an entire house).

However, I have to stress that given how flaky SmartThings (and attached sensors) can be, I honestly would never recommend using it when reliability is absolutely required; Especially when it comes to medical care. Personally, if you are set on going with SmartThings, I would at least look into using the ADT SmartThings hub and sensors. You get the same functionality, but without the quirks of z-wave/zigbee for the sensors. The ADT SmartThings hub uses different radio frequencies for the sensors and are supposed to be more reliable that the traditional sensors.

(Arn B) #50

Take a look in the Market Place–>Safety & Security–>Notify me When

I use it to notify people when there is no motion in my house from 7AM to 11AM and the SHM status is Home or Stay.

I agree with @Core_Phx, for this application you need a system that is more reliable than SmartThings.


“Hello Home Action” is the original pre-– 2015 name for what are called “routines” in the SmartThings classic app and are now just folded into “automations” in the new “SmartThings (Samsung Connect)” app.

But since everything that is described in the first part of this thread is literally years old, stuff just doesn’t work the same way now. So you wouldn’t do it that way anymore.

You’ve gotten a couple of good suggestions for currently available methods. You could also do something with webcore.

That said, as someone who does myself depend on a medical monitoring system (I’m quadriparetic) I agree absolutely with the comments that smartthings just isn’t reliable enough for those type of use cases. As the company says themselves in their product usage guidelines:

Data accuracy and consistency from SmartThings sensors, including those provided by SmartThings directly, resold by SmartThings, or supported by SmartThings, is not guaranteed. Therefore, you should not rely on that data for any use that impacts health, safety, security, property or financial interests.

All it would take is one false positive from SmartThings and you would think someone was moving around the house when they might in fact have fallen and be lying on the floor for hours or even days. :scream:

We did have one community member working with the VA on a project very similar to yours. You can see those discussion threads by looking on the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki, looking down near the bottom of that page for the “project reports” section and then choosing the list on accessibility.

However, they ended up not using SmartThings for monitoring because of the reliability issues and went with something else. You might track him down and ask for his advice as well. :sunglasses:

These days, our use SmartThings for convenience cases like notifying me if the guestroom window is open, rain is expected, and the guest has left the house. It does that way better than anything else in the same price range. But I don’t use it for any critical cases. In my situation, reliability Has to be my top priority as I just don’t have the same “Plan B” options as able-bodied people do.

(Don) #52

You can also look in the marketplace under smart care section for a couple apps.

I have one for no motion at MIL house. It has alerted us when she was on vacation of no motion so I assume it works.

Another thing I did was created a webcore piston that counts the motion events of the various sensors we have put in her house. It then sends a SMS message to my wife and her sister twice daily (6:30) with the motion counts. This way they can see if she has been up and about by the number of sensor triggers. It also notifies them in the message what time the last motion was sensed. This allows them to make a decision on the data it collected. So say if 1 sensor has zero counts could be a bad sensor but if several are zero, or the timestamp is odd for last motion it prompts an immediate visit.

This is just something we use to help my wife and her sister feel better about their mom being alone. She has fallen several times and the message data was enough to prompt a visit. I would not recommend relying on this. It’s more a backup and to help my wife feel better kind of thing.

This is an example of the SMS it sends:
Since Thu, Feb 7 2019 @ 6:30:00 PM CST. Bathroom detector saw motion 42 Times and last motion was Fri, Feb 8 2019 @ 6:20:11 AM CST. Bedroom detector saw motion 62 Times and last motion was Fri, Feb 8 2019 @ 6:21:40 AM CST Desk detector saw motion 20 times and last motion was Thu, Feb 7 2019 @ 8:42:51 PM CST. Kitchen detector saw motion 14 times and last event was Thu, Feb 7 2019 @ 8:42:49 PM CST. Last time counters were RESET to zero was Thu, Feb 7 2019 @ 6:30:00 PM CST