Wandering alert with voice: Where can I get a sensor device that plays a message such as 'go back to bed'?

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Where can I get a sensor device that plays a message such as 'go back to bed'?

Question

I am wondering where I could get a mat that is able to activate a voice command for ‘go back to bed now’ – do you have something like this available? Safety is an issue especially at night. The client's husband is stuggling to keep her safe when she wanders out of the bedroom when he is sleeping soundly. Although he has some extra security at the doors, an extra device would be helpful. The husband does not use any smart phones or computers so options for keeping her safe that he is comfortable with are limited. Also, what about a simple door alarm?

Our answer

Nighttime wandering can be dangerous for seniors who are vulnerable to falls or may become disoriented. It can be incredibly stressful for caregivers to balance their own sleep with keeping their loved ones safe during the night. Thankfully, there are several technologies that aim to address this challenge by responding to the individual exiting bed. With technologies such as these, it’s best to consult a registered healthcare professional to identify safety considerations. It’s also a good idea to obtain consent from the individual or their substitute decision-maker for use of these devices. Please note that while these devices are intended to reduce the risk of wandering, nothing can prevent this behaviour entirely.

While many products out there attempt to alert using beeps or chimes, only a couple offer a voice alert – either recorded or programmed – that plays aloud to the individual leaving the bed.

  • PIR Motion Sensor Audio Player by Waytronic (available from amazon.ca) plays an audio message when activated by motion. This device listed a wide range of uses including messages to guide seniors. Audio messages must be added to a Micro SD card (included) to be played on the device. This product only plays messages aloud from the device, so a caregiver sleeping in another room or sleeping deeply may not hear it at all. In more serious cases it could be used in conjunction with one of the traditional alert systems mentioned later on. This product costs about $40 (Cdn).
  • TL-3100V Dual Recordable Voice Monitor by Smart Caregiver is a monitoring system that plays a recorded message to the individual leaving the bed. Instead of playing a traditional alarm sound, this device plays a melody to calmly alert the caregiver. The alert is activated when the individual rises off of the bed pad sensor, and the change in weight signifies an exit. The monitor can be purchased from several vendors including Performance Health and Castle & Cooper for around $110 (Cdn). The bed sensor pads can also be purchased from Performance Health and Castle & Cooper, the prices vary based on size, but range between about $50 and $120 (Cdn). The set can also be purchased from Val-U-Care for $115 (U.S.) plus a shipping fee. 
  • Fall Guard Alert System by Assistive Technology Services is a bed exit alert system with two components. The first is a pressure sensor that is placed under the mattress and the sensor is activated when weight is removed. The sensor can first play a Voice Prompt for the individual – “Please lie back down”. Then the other component, the Alert Monitor, will be triggered. This secondary device stays with the caregiver to ensure that they are awake and ready to respond. The pads are disposable and it is advised that they should only be used for 90 days. The price including shipping to Canada is about $191 (U.S.).

The majority of these types of sensors play an alarm – beeps, tones, chime – from the device. For some, that is the indication they need to know to go back to bed, but more often it is to alert a caregiver in the room. Also increasingly common is to have a separate pager for the responding caregiver, which is beneficial for heavy sleepers or caregivers not sleeping in the same room. Each of the products below has a different means of activation. Some options may be more appropriate than others based on the environment, the behaviour and ability of the senior, and the preferences of the caregiver.

  • TL-2100E Economy Fall Monitor by Smart Caregiver is a very basic alert system that works with bed sensor pads. The sensor is placed under the mattress either under the individual’s shoulders – to be alerted when they sit up in bed – or under their lower back or buttocks – to be alerted when they exit the bed. The alert is played from the device, so it works best if the caregiver is near the device when the alert goes off. This product is available locally at Island Mediquip, the monitor and the bed sensor cost about $125 (Cdn).
  • Advanced Bed Alarm w/ Nurse Call and Protekt Sensor Floor Pad by Proactive (available from healthcaresolutions.ca) work together as a floor pad sensor monitor. The alert is activated when pressure is put onto the floor pad – typically when the individual is leaving the bed and stepping onto the mat. The alarm system costs just under $100 (Cdn) and is compatible with many floor sensors including the Protekt Sensor which costs about $115 (Cdn).
  • TL-5102MP Motion Sensor and Pager by Smart Caregiver (available from amazon.ca) alerts the caregiver through a pager when motion is detected. Make sure to test the system to ensure the individual’s motion will be captured. This device costs about $52 (Cdn).
  • Wireless Wander Alarm for Doors or Windows by HearMore (available from maxiaids.com) includes a two-part sensor and a wireless receiver. One part of the sensor is attached to the door and the other part to the doorjamb. As the door opens the sensors move apart from one another and an alert is sent to the receiver – which can be anywhere up to 100 feet away. This product costs about $65 (Cdn).
  • Wander Alert Wireless Door Sensor & Alarm Kit by SMPL Technologies (available from Harris Communications) is a quick install door sensor that alerts caregivers via a pager with a transmission range of up to 250 feet. This product costs about $40 (U.S.) plus a shipping fee.

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