Out of bed alerts for elderly (2021)

I’m looking for all around ideas to help look after my grandfather living in the house. For a while now we’ve had an open/close sensor on his bedroom door and a motion sensor in his bathroom with alerts set up to monitor him. We even have a camera to check in on him at night.

Unfortunately, he recently fell and is due to come home from the hospital on Monday with a hairline fracture. He can’t put weight on his leg, but he’s still determined to try. I’m looking for ideas on what I can set up to alert me when he’s trying. He’ll be in a hospital bed and (hopefully) won’t have the mobility to lower or climb over the rails. I’d love to come up with a solution that alerts me when he’s trying to escape without having to monitor the camera constantly. Does anyone have any ideas?

(I’m also interested in any other ideas people have come up with for elder safety, even if it’s not directly related to this).

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There were quite a few of these threads several years ago, One community member was working on a VA project which included inhome wellness monitoring for people with traumatic brain injury. The ultimate conclusion was that smartthings just wasn’t reliable enough for this for critical use cases, but it could be helpful as an additional convenience notification.

Although a lot of the code and some of the devices will be out of date, it might help give you some ideas although the implementation details will differ. You can check at two different tags: project alerts, and project accessibility, to find these.



As far as the specific issue of getting out of bed, the quickest would be either a pressure mat under the mattress or a motion sensor or both.

The Withings sleep monitor costs about $80 and has an IFTTT channel, so you can get the whole thing up and working in about 10 minutes.


So that would probably be the easiest. But there are other options as well.

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You might also be able to use a vibration sensor to catch vibrations on the rail. It’s true that that might also alert if he just bumped into it, but you could check it with the camera if you do get an alert. For ideas about this, I would check the smart chair thread. Again, the thread is very old, so the specifics might have to be different now but it might help with some brainstorming.

use one of the open/close contact like the smartthings contact that has vibration detection. put one on each bedside railing.

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I have an ST multi sensor on my front door, no doubt they are all different but mine sets of movement alerts if one of our dogs bark, wind hits the door, even if someone shouts, it is ultra sensative so might not be ideal if the occupant just moves even a little

However if the bed is electric and can tilt then a multi sensor might be useful when configured to garage door option, as the 2 magnets separate a notification could be sent… alot of ifs and buts for that one though.

Movement sensors could be useful but do have the habit of not working well or at all in the dark, that said as a day time sensor, tilted away from the movement area so that the edge of the detection zone of the sensor might work, might take a bit of trial and error though

I have done this in one of my rooms so the lights come on with movement into the room but not if there is movement in other parts of the room

A nest camera can detect movement and sound sending a notifications in ST, again placed strategically it could be useful

And I know this is probably not an option but high end Samsung Tvs do have Smartthings on them, if the camera detects sound or motion it pops up on the TV, there is a delay though as it passes through Googles servers and finaly back to you of about 3 or 4 seconds (Smartthings on any Samsung Tv is hit and miss, some should have it but don’t some have it and it does not work)

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Do a search for beam alarm on Amazon, something there might be useful

A tilt sensor is a clever idea. :sunglasses:

I haven’t heard of any common problems with PIR “motion” sensors having problems operating in the dark. :thinking: In fact the reason this technology is chosen for so many inexpensive motion sensors is because it does not require any light at all to operate. PIR stands for Passive Infrared: it works by measuring tiny changes in heat passing across the lens. So light or dark should make no difference except that strong sunlight might trigger an alert.

The exception, and this may be what you meant, is the camera-based motion sensors. These work by analyzing changes in image, so darkness can definitely be an issue with those.

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My Aeotec multi 6 you can run a truck in front of that in the dark, the 3 is the same, just sits there and sees zipo

I can’t see any details on what distance the Aeotecs are rated at for zero lux but from experience the 6 fails at 3 mtrs and the tri sensor fails at 1 mtr in the dark, no real issue for me as I have workarounds but something to be considered when spending money and relying on them for much more serious uses than mine

If there is some ambient light they are fine, infact very reliable but total dark, not good

Thank you all for the feedback. I’m going to start with the Withings Sleep device and see where we go from there.

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I use motion sensors placed around to detect my MIL movement in the house. I then use Webcore to count these movements up and send a notification twice a day with the sensor count and the last time an event was detected . It’s not quite as important now as before when she didn’t live with us. But we still use it and more specifically when both of us are out of the house.

It also used a virtual button to trigger a report if needed.

Here’s an example of the report we receive twice a day.

"Since Mon, Aug 9 2021 @ 6:30:00 AM CDT. Bathroom detector saw motion 14 times and last motion was Mon, Aug 9 2021 @ 4:04:53 PM CDT. Bedroom detector saw motion 43 times and last motion was Mon, Aug 9 2021 @ 6:27:36 PM CDT. Den detector saw motion 40 times and last motion was Mon, Aug 9 2021 @ 6:26:10 PM CDT. While Don and Sandee were away Kitchen motion detector saw motion 11 times last motion was Mon, Aug 9 2021 @ 11:25:25 AM CDT. Last time counters were reset was Mon, Aug 9 2021 @ 6:30:00 AM CDT.

I used to have more sensors when she lived alone and could more easily see if she hadn’t been moving about the house. Say like not going to kitchen to eat or going to bathroom. That was a sure sign something was probably up.

We were more looking for say a motion event or lack of them (like a zero report, or an event that was a while ago) we could then go to her house and check on her.

I also think there is a few built in (used to be) apps to monitor motion for elderly people. But I don’t remember what they were and I’d have to look when I’m not mobile.

1 we used to use was like a no motion in this amount of time alert. And 1 used to monitor 2 separate motion sensors and alert if 1 tripped but the other didn’t. Like if you went into the bathroom but didn’t come back out to the bedroom (or something like that)

I think your more looking to see if he tries to get up. Just thought I’d share maybe it would help trigger an idea?

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But I would think a PIR sensor under the bed would detect his legs since it would be a heat source that wasn’t there. I doubt under his bed is warmer than the rest of the room and has a constant warm spot.

You could use 2 so 1 is a backup, maybe 1 on mains power and 1 on battery. I’ve hacked battery powered iris sensors to use mains power, also have several GE motion sensors that can be battery or mains powered. The GE ones are VERY sensitive and can detect a long ways away.

Also maybe a contact sensor on the bed rails and the bed frame. If the rail lowers then it triggers because the contact opened or closed depending where you put the 2 pieces.

Just more ideas. Hope any of that helps.