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  #101  
Old 10-24-2018, 06:46 PM
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I'm barely over forty so this may not matter, but my workplace has demonstrated that it's ready and willing to call my parents if I'm so much as an hour late getting in. (They live in town.) This could get a bit nasty if I drop moments after getting home from work on Friday but during the week it's as good as any phone circle. Of course at some point I'll probably outlive them, but for the moment I think I'm okay.
  #102  
Old 10-24-2018, 07:11 PM
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I don't have anything in place for myself, who lives alone.

But both my sisters live in the same town, and someone calls or visits our mother everyday. sometimes more than once.
  #103  
Old 10-26-2018, 02:44 AM
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Mind's Eye, Watering , cool idea about that sofware program. Have you had a test run, to see if it worked with a few preselected family members? To see if the email did not get trapped in a spam filter or somesuch?
  #104  
Old 10-26-2018, 07:30 AM
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Mind's Eye, Watering , cool idea about that sofware program. Have you had a test run, to see if it worked with a few preselected family members? To see if the email did not get trapped in a spam filter or somesuch?
Yes, I did. I used a couple of throw-away email addresses first, then did a final test to the real recipients. I also told them what to expect.

Works well.
  #105  
Old 10-26-2018, 08:03 AM
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You would think you could program the alarm on your smart phone to call someone if you do not shut it off. That could be the next great app.
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  #106  
Old 10-26-2018, 01:54 PM
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In an acute medical emergency, seconds (much less minutes) can be the difference. The problem with some of the methodologies mentioned is that they are simply too slow in terms of response time. Personally, if I couldn't be found in time to prevent permanent brain damage/paralysis, I'd rather not be found until I was dead because quality of life is more important than just existing. Therefore, for me, it would have to be a technological solution that could elicit an immediate response.
Very true. I have a friend who, only in his 30s, had a stroke in his apartment. A once-a-week cleaning maid found him after he had been laying on his bathroom floor for three days. He survived, but has severe permanent damage that could have been greatly reduced had he been able to get medical response quickly.
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  #107  
Old 10-27-2018, 06:29 PM
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A consideration


I had a friend who passed away at home. I never heard any details other than the interval to discovery was 3 to 4 days.
3 to 4 days in the house, just him and the dog.
  #108  
Old 10-27-2018, 07:07 PM
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This thread is well-timed, since I just turned 65 and live alone.

I do have a cleaning lady who comes in weekly, but I've got an appointment with a medical alarm company on Monday (and intend to buy.)

What follows may be upsetting to some...
SPOILER:
Two of my elderly friends who lived alone (some distance away from me) both passed away. I was keeping in regular touch with them and when I hadn't heard anything by e-mail (and got no response from a phone call), I alerted the local police - who found them.
  #109  
Old 10-27-2018, 07:37 PM
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This thread is very timely for me too. I'm 62, had a septic shock episode last year with a concurrent heart attack. I live alone with a cat. I also have low blood pressure and have dizzy spells and even have passed out (and hit my head). So, the medical alert thingy is a possibility. My Mom wore one and I know they work to detect falls. The Deadman's Switch is also a great idea. I would just hate for Mikko to die just because I didn't do something I should have done.
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  #110  
Old 10-27-2018, 07:40 PM
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A few years ago, when poster Khadaji died of the flu, his dog died also before he was found. I thought about that a lot.
Chacoguy's dog also died prior to his death being discovered, although there was a lot more to that story. He was an interesting poster, and I miss seeing him here.

My parents will both be 85 as of Monday, and they have neighbors who would check on them if they didn't see any activity around the house.

When I lived in my old town, I knew an elderly woman who died from a stroke about a month after it occurred. She was a widow who lived alone, and it was a neighbor who called 911 after noticing that a certain light in the house had stayed on for a couple of days. The stroke left her paralyzed on one side and unable to speak, so she couldn't have called 911 if a phone had been in her hand.
  #111  
Old 10-29-2018, 05:55 AM
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This thread is very timely for me too. I'm 62, had a septic shock episode last year with a concurrent heart attack. I live alone with a cat. I also have low blood pressure and have dizzy spells and even have passed out (and hit my head). So, the medical alert thingy is a possibility. My Mom wore one and I know they work to detect falls. The Deadman's Switch is also a great idea. I would just hate for Mikko to die just because I didn't do something I should have done.
Um... spoilered about owner deaths and cats because it's gross:

SPOILER:
A couple months ago a former co-worker died at home (her alcoholism, which lead to her being a "former" rather than current co-worker, might have been a factor) and wasn't discovered for a week. Her three cats were fine - they apparently were drinking out of the toilet and... well, there's no way to put this delicately... they were eating her, starting with the soft, accessible bits. They're little predators, after all, and while they may like you they probably like their own selves even more, and since you're done using your body anyway... Dogs sometimes do the same thing, sometimes don't


Bottom line - as long as they have access to water, your cats can probably survive your demise a week. So make sure you'll missed/found within that time frame.

(Elderly/ill cats that require daily medication perhaps an exception here.)

There's really two things we're talking about here:

1) Being found soon enough for medical care to help you, and

2) Being found reasonably soon after your demise, particularly in the case of when you have pets you care about.
  #112  
Old 10-29-2018, 10:16 AM
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Yes, I did. I used a couple of throw-away email addresses first, then did a final test to the real recipients. I also told them what to expect.

Works well.
Good to hear. Have you brought up what to do in case of false alarms, and how you can prevent false alarms? my life is a bit chaotic and I sometimes have an out of order phone for over a day - repairs, forgotten to take with me on a trip, charger is lost or broken...so I would be terrified that if I installed Dead Mans Switch, my chaos would lead to unneccesary alarmed people and me deleting the app because of that.

Asking friends/family if they would be your contacts for a program like Dead Man's Switch, seems both difficult and worthwhile.

Difficult because you're asking a favour and admitting vulnerability. No-one likes to think about this, and people are likely ot pooh-pooh it away. But the thought keeps nagging whenever we hear another story like the ones shared in this thread.
So bringing it up is difficult. But also worthwhile, because it might draw the two of you closer.

Perhaps they have the same problems, and are glad you brought it up, and are glad that you offer a mutual solution. after all, they too could install the app and list you as a contact. (Does the app offer this reciprocity without the contacts also having to pay fullprice for the app?)

Such a mutual admission of vulnerability may lead to mutual understanding, help, and maybe staying in touch more.

Last edited by Maastricht; 10-29-2018 at 10:20 AM.
  #113  
Old 10-29-2018, 01:24 PM
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I have stopped deadbolting the door to my apartment while I am home alone, although I still use the basic lock. I’m less concerned about someone forcing their way in to harm me than I am about someone NOT being able to get in to help me.

I did go to college with a girl whose life was saved because she was very responsible ( and somewhat wealthy). She was kidnapped from a parking garage on her way to work, brutally attacked and left for dead. As soon as her family got a call from her work wondering where she was (when she was about a half hour late) theny began using a private investigator to track her -her kidnappers began using her credit cards- and she was found an hour or two after the attack.
Because of that, she survived ( although she was paralyzed from the neck down and also unable to speak ). But she was able to communicate enough to testify against her attacker.

Who is in jail. And I saw her at my latest HS reunion and her health was failing. Even though the attack was 30 years ago, her assailant will be tried for murder if she dies because of her health problems.

Last edited by Ann Hedonia; 10-29-2018 at 01:26 PM.
  #114  
Old 10-29-2018, 05:52 PM
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Um... spoilered about owner deaths and cats because it's gross....
Oddly enough, I had a discussion with a friend today just about this phenomenon. He is under the impression that his dog is less likely to eat him than my cat is to eat me. I sent him a Nation Geographic article that suggests Rover is perhaps as capable as Fluffy to snack on their now dead human.

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  #115  
Old 10-29-2018, 06:08 PM
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I'm getting snorgled by a cat right now. Apparently they may start snacking on a human corpse within minutes after death; dogs will wait hours or even days. It's a fact of life that First Responders will, in time, see many times.

This one may be an exception; last I heard, he's still alive and kicking (and predicting imminent death) himself.

https://www.amazon.com/Making-Rounds.../dp/1401310435
  #116  
Old 10-30-2018, 06:41 AM
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Hey you two, knock it off. We're in here to talk about feasible solution to the problem of needing help, not to talk about pets eating dead owners.

Which brings me to another point: do any of you ever notice if lights stay on inside a house all day, in an unusual pattern? What would you do if you would notice that?

Good point about the deadbolting, Anhedonia. The first thing I do when I feel strange is to get my phone, go to the door, and unlock the door.

This happened once or twice in my life. Once when I was choking on a piece of candy in my windpipe, not only did I go to my door, but on instinct I went out of my front door, into the stairs area, and down a floor to where I knew other people could hear me wheeze and cough.
  #117  
Old 10-30-2018, 01:19 PM
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Which brings me to another point: do any of you ever notice if lights stay on inside a house all day, in an unusual pattern? What would you do if you would notice that?
It would take a long time for me to be suspicious of a random house having its lights on. I'm not sure I would ever investigate such an issue. I go by many houses when I walk my dogs and I barely notice which houses have their lights on.

However, this gave me an idea for a notification system which uses lights. What you need is some sort of timer that you tap every day so it doesn't turn on, but if you don't tap it then the timer will eventually turn on. If you had the timer hooked up to some flashing lights in your window, that would get noticed for sure.

Here's a simple way to make something like this with flashing lights hooked to a lamp timer. Get one of the lamp timers that has a rotating dial rather than a digital one. The way the dial timers work, you slide "on" or "off" toggles on the notched dial when you want the timer to be on or off. On the rotating dial, just put one "on" switch toggle. This will cause the timer to turn on after 24 hours and never turn off. But the way you use it as a notification system is to rotate it past the "on" timer twice a day, like morning and night. Rotating it will turn on the lights, but you can immediately turn them off with the timer control (or unplug the timer as you rotate). But if you don't interact with the timer, it will eventually turn on and start flashing the lights in the window. So just 24 hours max between when you're incapacitated and the lights come on.

Another way that doesn't involve as much intervention is with a water sprinkler timer and some 24 VAC flashing lights. You can set the sprinkler to turn on every day at a certain time and duration, but you'd wire up the sprinkler to a flashing light instead of a sprinkler valve. Many sprinkler timers have ways to temporarily delay the watering cycle. One way is a button called "rain delay" which you press when it rains so that the sprinkler will wait X days before watering again. Another way they do delays is by having a water sensor in the lawn, so it doesn't turn on if the ground is wet. You could instead put the water sensor in a glass that you fill regularly, which will trigger the sensor if the water evaporates. You could also put the sensor in a potted plant which would have the same effect. Something like this would allow warning lights to come on if you haven't interacted with the system recently. You could also have some sort of alarm system hooked up as well. Because sprinkler controllers have many zones, you could have different zones wired up to different things that cause different behaviors as the controller goes through the zones. So zone 1 is just an alarm, zone 2 is alarm and lights, etc. It's not going to give notifications as quickly as the lamp timer, but its requires less maintenance if you're not in great health risk.
  #118  
Old 03-06-2019, 03:00 AM
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Dying alone: what safety measures are feasible?


Update: my Apron phone works.

For other women without pockets in their clothing, how about sewing a pocket in your favourite scarves for your phone? Or buy one ready made. https://www.facebook.com/15960906071...324688?sfns=mo

https://www.inspireuplift.com/produc...rf-with-pocket

Last edited by Maastricht; 03-06-2019 at 03:04 AM.
  #119  
Old 03-06-2019, 03:17 AM
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Filmore, that lamp device is awesome. You should post it to Instructables.

Especially since the owner of the house would notice it herself, unlike a silent alarm that gives false alarms and gets ignored... and it is not so scary to be turned off, like a real blaring alarm.

Another possibility is that the switch triggers a light not for the general public but in your own home ( for feedback) AND a neighbours. Or at the back of your house, where neighbours will see it and you, but not strangers passing by.

Even better if it is not a flashing light but a lettered sign with instructions what to do for passers by. " please ring the doorbell. If I don't answer, please call me on this number. If I don't respond, please look in, or do ...."

You could even combine it with an app that sends your phone a dead mans switch request before setting itself on, so if you're away from home and forgot to set the switch to inactive, it asks you first if you forgot and if you don't respond, it sets on.
  #120  
Old 03-07-2019, 12:50 PM
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If someone was going to build something fancy, a more convenient way would be to have something like a motion detector that would turn something on if no motion happened for a certain amount of time. Another way might be to put a vibration sensor on the water line which would sound an alarm if the water had been off for a long time.

As for a simple timer, I saw that X10 has an app and smart hub: https://www.x10.com/wm100.html. The app allows all kinds of fancy programming, including disabling programs for a certain amount of time. So you could have an X10 plug that goes off at a certain time every day, but you could run the program on your phone to delay that timer for X hours. If you didn't activate the delay, the X10 plug would automatically turn on at the scheduled time. You could even have several plugs configured so that the first one is something like a radio which would alert you in case you forgot to do the delay, but then other plugs could turn on strobe lights and alarms at a later time if you didn't interact with the system.
  #121  
Old 03-07-2019, 01:16 PM
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This thread is well-timed, since I just turned 65 and live alone.

I do have a cleaning lady who comes in weekly, but I've got an appointment with a medical alarm company on Monday (and intend to buy.)
Update: I have now got an alarm button on a neck chain. I've given the alarm company names of two friends living nearby who have keys to my house. When I rpess the button, the alarm company are phoned and can contact my friends / local surgery / emergency services as required.

They test the system every month and I'm much reassured by them.
  #122  
Old 03-08-2019, 09:16 AM
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glee, is that a commercial service, or one offered by your local county?

I ask because Dutch city councils are now responsible for letting elderly live longer at home: its cheaper then funding old folks homes, and most people want to live home longer, anyway.

But I could see how the city council’s department of Social Work might want to operate and hand out a system lime that, if they could do so more cheaply, reliably and better integrated with local social services.

Last edited by Maastricht; 03-08-2019 at 09:17 AM.
  #123  
Old 03-08-2019, 11:20 AM
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my suggestion for those living alone: drink some water in the morning before you eat a leftover donut so you don't choke to death.
  #124  
Old 03-08-2019, 03:56 PM
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Update: I have now got an alarm button on a neck chain. I've given the alarm company names of two friends living nearby who have keys to my house. When I rpess the button, the alarm company are phoned and can contact my friends / local surgery / emergency services as required.

They test the system every month and I'm much reassured by them.
Is this the kind of device that can [try to] detect a fall? Because if you fall and are knocked unconscious, you'll never have a chance to press the button.
  #125  
Old 03-08-2019, 04:55 PM
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glee, is that a commercial service, or one offered by your local county?

I ask because Dutch city councils are now responsible for letting elderly live longer at home: its cheaper then funding old folks homes, and most people want to live home longer, anyway.

But I could see how the city council’s department of Social Work might want to operate and hand out a system lime that, if they could do so more cheaply, reliably and better integrated with local social services.
This is a company set up and run by a local Council.
There is a cost to buy the equipment and a monthly charge (but it's not much.)
  #126  
Old 03-08-2019, 04:56 PM
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Is this the kind of device that can [try to] detect a fall? Because if you fall and are knocked unconscious, you'll never have a chance to press the button.
You have to press the button.
Hopefully I would do so in the act of falling (since that's what I think about when e.g. climbing stairs.)
  #127  
Old 03-08-2019, 09:23 PM
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You have to press the button.

Hopefully I would do so in the act of falling (since that's what I think about when e.g. climbing stairs.)
No, absolutely not. All your focus will be on trying to stop your fall/grab a handrail/protect your person. It happens so fast, you won't have a chance to press the button. Look into the sensor kind. I've also heard (I think on the Dope) that phone apps can do this now.
  #128  
Old 10-03-2019, 07:38 AM
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Apparently, the Apple watch and similar fitness devices to wear on your wrist, now come with functions to detect falls and contact help. https://support.apple.com/en-euro/HT208944

That could be a solution. Especially since there is no stigma to wearing an fitness tracker.
  #129  
Old 10-03-2019, 08:00 AM
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It's a large, heavy watch. It wouldn't be suitable for my elderly mom. She might be frailer than most, however.
  #130  
Old 10-03-2019, 03:07 PM
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You have to press the button.
Hopefully I would do so in the act of falling (since that's what I think about when e.g. climbing stairs.)
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Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
No, absolutely not. All your focus will be on trying to stop your fall/grab a handrail/protect your person. It happens so fast, you won't have a chance to press the button. Look into the sensor kind. I've also heard (I think on the Dope) that phone apps can do this now.
I climb + descend stairs with one hand on the handrail and the other on my alarm button.
If I trip, one quick press of the button, then put my hand out to break my fall.
I firmly believe that if my attention is on pressing the button, I will do so.
  #131  
Old 10-03-2019, 06:32 PM
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I'm getting a smart watch. I have had a coupla health issues this past few months. And I am scared enough that I've upgraded to full Borg mode. Attached devices to my body. A new dedicated cel phone. A wi-fi enabled phone. I already had a panic button. I've used it fairly recently, worked perfectly. My DIL who is in charged of my freakin' whole life now has been on-the-case. I feel safer now. Peace of mind is a great thing. I know nothing is fool-proof and I need to stay on top of keeping these devices close to my person. So far, so good.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 10-03-2019 at 06:33 PM.
  #132  
Old 10-03-2019, 10:43 PM
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It's a large, heavy watch. It wouldn't be suitable for my elderly mom. She might be frailer than most, however.
It also requires charging pretty much every day, right?

While the concept is great, compliance might be a problem.
  #133  
Old 10-03-2019, 11:25 PM
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Ugh. I ended up in the hospital again. At least I knew about the concierge services Robert Wood Johnson hospital has for things like pets (didn't need it - set out a giant bowl of food before I took a TAXI to the hospital). And my mailman knows me and after ineffectively trying to use my phone to set up a mail hold, a simple phone call to my post office did the trick. *Sigh* Way too much to deal with when your body is falling apart.
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  #134  
Old 10-04-2019, 07:20 AM
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Good point about the deadbolting, Anhedonia. The first thing I do when I feel strange is to get my phone, go to the door, and unlock the door.

This happened once or twice in my life. Once when I was choking on a piece of candy in my windpipe, not only did I go to my door, but on instinct I went out of my front door, into the stairs area, and down a floor to where I knew other people could hear me wheeze and cough.
This is one of the best reasons to still have a landline. Many/most police depts will investigate a 911 hangup or otherwise open line if possible. If it comes in from a landline they have an address to respond to. A 911 call, either a hangup or an open line & an open door (not just unlocked but open, even a bit) is enough to warrant (without a warrant!) a search of the house. If you're choking & can't speak at least press a button on the phone when they answer; your 'silent' communication would warrant a more urgent response. Depending upon the PSAP (911 call center) you might be able to communicate the problem with a beep or two in response to their questions.
Are you in danger? Press once for yes.
Is there someone in the house you're hiding from?
Are you having a medical emergency?
  #135  
Old 10-07-2019, 08:46 AM
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This is one of the best reasons to still have a landline. Many/most police depts will investigate a 911 hangup or otherwise open line if possible. If it comes in from a landline they have an address to respond to. A 911 call, either a hangup or an open line & an open door (not just unlocked but open, even a bit) is enough to warrant (without a warrant!) a search of the house. If you're choking & can't speak at least press a button on the phone when they answer; your 'silent' communication would warrant a more urgent response. Depending upon the PSAP (911 call center) you might be able to communicate the problem with a beep or two in response to their questions.
Are you in danger? Press once for yes.
Is there someone in the house you're hiding from?
Are you having a medical emergency?
This could also help when you feel a stroke coming on. Call 911 and say you feel funny, and ask them if they are willing to stay on the phone with you for five minutes max, to see if you’re either okay, or losing consciousness. If you are having the symptoms of a stroke (and for gods sake, look those up!) then the time between “do ething’s not right” and losing consciousness and speaking ability is about 2 minutes.
  #136  
Old 10-07-2019, 02:34 PM
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<...>

Which brings me to another point: do any of you ever notice if lights stay on inside a house all day, in an unusual pattern? What would you do if you would notice that?
That is how my sister ended up finding out that our mother had died in her bed. My sister lives next door to where my mom lives. For two days she hadn’t heard from my mother, and she saw that my mother’s bedroom light was staying on the whole time.

She went in and found her dead. Apparently our mother died shortly before going to sleep, tucked in bed.
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Last edited by JoseB; 10-07-2019 at 02:35 PM.
  #137  
Old 10-09-2019, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Icarus View Post
Nah, more like if the toilet doesn't flush at least once in a 24 hour period (or time frame you choose!) the email/text gets sent.
Many home alarm systems can be setup with a simple motion sensor. The good ones will create a log report of every motion and store the file on the interwebs for viewing. You can also write your own custom scripts, such as "If no motion detected in 24 hrs then...".

In the case of my elderly in-laws, they are constantly disabling their own internet connection by senior fumbling nearly once a week..."Son, I'm borrowing the neighbor's phone because I lost my phone charger again...the Tivo rewind got stuck, so I think I logged out but HBO won't work now, so I unplugged everything. What does the blinking blue light on the box thingy mean again?"

Internet is the least reliable means of tracking them. I'm looking into an alarm system that can do 4/5G phone instead to upload the data.
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