Best Monitoring Systems For Elderly In The Home

home monitoring system

Most people think of medical alert systems when searching for senior safety devices for their loved ones. But aging-at-home technology has advanced exponentially in recent years to meet the growing demand for services and the need for more specialized monitoring. These systems are no longer one-size-fits-all devices. They offer special services, and some can even be customized to older adults’ specific needs.

For example, depending on the home monitoring system one uses, caregivers can be alerted to risky behaviors such as confusion, medication adherence, bathroom usage, or other fall risks. 

When considering monitoring systems for elderly individuals at home, “It’s best to do lots of research and speak to representatives from each company as all systems have their pros and cons,” said Gareth Mahon, CEO of The CareSide, a home care and nursing service for the elderly and disabled. 

To help you narrow your search, our team of experts at AgingInPlace.org looked at several home monitoring systems, determined which were best for certain individuals, and selected our top brands. Here’s what we found.

Key Takeaways

  • Monitoring systems are not one-size-fits-all devices. Different types offer specific solutions, depending on an individual’s needs. 
  • Some home monitoring systems for the elderly can alert caregivers about health or cognitive issues.
  • Other home monitoring systems can detect falls and provide a rapid emergency response if needed. 
  • Not all home monitoring systems are connected to outside sources. Some are more private and only alert assigned caregivers via an app
  • Newer technology has created virtual caregivers that can learn a user’s behaviors. These services usually come at a higher price.

How Monitoring Systems Work for the Elderly in the Home

seniors father mother and son

Home monitoring services are designed to give caregivers and their aging loved ones peace of mind while also enabling them to age in their homes as long as possible. Since senior adults can have a wide range of health and mobility issues, these systems work differently depending on the type of service. Some alert first responders in the event of an emergency. Others notify caregivers if risky behavior is identified. Some provide medical data to the user’s healthcare team. Read on as we explore the different monitoring systems for elderly individuals in the home.

Different Types of Monitoring Systems

Monitoring systems for the elderly offer a variety of features. These systems can be used alone or paired with another monitoring system depending on your loved one’s needs. Common types of monitoring systems include:

  • Voice-activated services 
  • Movement sensors
  • Video monitoring
  • Personal emergency response systems
  • Medical monitoring
  • Comprehensive artificial intelligence home systems

Benefits of Monitoring Systems for the Elderly in the Home

Monitoring systems for the elderly provide numerous benefits beyond helping individuals age at home. These include:

  • Early detection of cognitive and medical health issues
  • Peace of mind for caregivers and their loved ones
  • Heightened home security and monitoring of safety issues, such as room temperature spikes or drops
  • Reduced healthcare costs
  • More opportunity to connect with loved ones further away

Top Monitoring Systems for the Elderly in the Home

Here are our top elderly monitoring systems, which include personal emergency response systems, voice-activated services, movement sensors, video monitoring, medical monitoring, and even comprehensive artificial intelligence (AI) home systems.

Type: Personal emergency response system

Best for: Seniors at risk of falling 

Price: $29.95-$34.95/month for at-home systems. Cellular plan requires a one-time $124.95 equipment fee

Features:

  • 24/7 monitoring that links users directly to emergency operators.
  • On-the-go option available for an additional cost.
  • Fall detection available for an additional monthly cost.
  • Wearable devices are water-resistant. 
  • Two-way communication on most devices.
  • Jewelry accessories available to disguise wearable pendants
  • Smartwatch model available, but it doesn’t include fall detection.

See our full Medical Guardian Review.

Medical Guardian is one of the top brands in our best medical alert systems review. The website is easy to navigate and clearly states the products and services offered. Medical Guardian has two competitively priced cellular or landline compatible, at-home units. Plus, there’s a fall detection option available for an additional monthly fee. The device will immediately attempt to contact the user if a fall is detected. If there is no response, the operator sends emergency responders.

See our full Medical Guardian Review

Type: Voice-activated service

Best for: More independent seniors

Price: $19.99/month or $199/year. (Free six-month trial offer going on now). Plus the cost of an Alexa device for the user and caregivers. 

Features:

  • Keeps up with users’ activities via the activity feed. 
  • Can alert caregivers to specific activities, such as when door sensors are activated.
  • Alexa will notify caregivers if the user hasn’t communicated with the device within a certain period.
  • A user can ask Alexa to call for help, and Alexa will immediately contact assigned caregivers.
  • Enables caregivers to “drop in” on loved ones to visit or assess worrisome conditions.
  • Can hook up to third-party fall detection devices, which will alert caregivers to falls.

It seems like anything can be found on Amazon. Now, the marketplace offers home monitoring for seniors via its Echo device. Alexa Together is available for a small monthly fee, though all parties—the user and all caregivers—will need an Amazon account, an Echo device in their homes, and the free smartphone app. While any Echo device will work, it’s best if the loved one needing monitoring has an Echo Show device, which enables video drop-ins for emergencies. 

Alexa Together works by reminding your loved one about upcoming doctor’s appointments or when to take medications. It also keeps caregivers in the loop about their loved one’s activities via the accessible activity feed. But you can also get important notifications. For example, if your loved one falls and asks Alexa for help or if a paired device detects a fall, the app will immediately contact the 24/7 Urgent Response monitoring center and caregivers. Alexa Together can also be paired with Alexa-enabled devices that have sensors that detect when medicine cabinets or front doors are opened, and they can immediately alert caregivers about these activities.

Type: Movement sensors

Best for: Seniors with cognitive deficits 

Price: $399 for starter equipment package with eight sensors and a hub. $99.99 monthly service charge. Additional sensors can be purchased for $29.99 each. 

Features:

  • Uses discrete sensors to track behavior: no cameras, microphones, listening devices, GPS tracking, or wearable technology.
  • Sensors can be placed on front doors to monitor when someone opens the door.
  • Bathroom sensors can detect toilet frequency and duration.
  • System enables remote unlocking of the front door for first responders.

When a loved one begins to experience cognitive decline, hazards like bathrooms, stairs, and doorways can become a concern. EnvoyatHome tracks your loved one’s activities using discrete sensors placed around the house and alerts caregivers via the app if their loved one’s behavior is out of character. For example, if your family member uses the bathroom more often than usual, it may signify a urinary tract infection. In addition to providing real-time alerts, envoyatHome also stores the data to detect trends that can indicate a decline in mental or physical health. 

People with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are prone to wandering and getting lost and disoriented and are at a greater risk for falls and injuries. We appreciate that envoyatHome acts as a door alarm for elderly individuals, notifying caregivers if their loved one attempts to leave the house. 

The system can also detect pacing and behaviors that suggest confusion. Furthermore, envoyatHome can be programmed to monitor compliance to medical orders, such as avoiding stairs, staying hydrated, or taking medication. In an emergency, it allows caregivers to remotely unlock the front door to allow access for first responders.

Type: Video monitoring

Best for: Discreetly checking on loved one’s home care from home health aides and senior sitters

Price: $44.99 one-time cost (currently 10% off standard $49.99 price)

Features:

  • Equipped with dual-band Wi-Fi security camera with full HD video and motion detector.
  • Cameras allow for two-way audio.
  • Cameras have night vision for improved visibility of nighttime videos. 
  • Cameras can do a 355-degree pan and 50-degree tilt.
  • Remote live view available anytime to check on loved ones.
  • Can be used to discreetly check on the care your loved one receives from home health or other caregivers.

Baby monitors are a godsend for many new parents, but they can be helpful for caregivers who want to keep their eyes on their adult loved ones. Just like nanny cams, video monitoring systems for elderly individuals in the home can help caregivers monitor how well hired aides or sitters are meeting their loved one’s needs and ensure they are being treated with dignity.

The Reolink E1 Pro security cameras stand out to us because they can be set to record at certain times of the day or for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So, if needed, you can go back and check if your loved one got up during the night or how they took a fall when no one was looking. Reolink E1 Pro security cameras can also help you determine whether your loved one may require a higher level of care.

Type: Medical monitoring

Best for: Elderly with health problems that require regular monitoring

Price: $59.99/month and one-time $25 activation fee. Most add-ons require an additional $55 one-time fee.

Features:

  • 24/7 emergency response.
  • Physician-on-demand services.
  • 24/7 medication reminders.
  • Works with add-on devices from Pro Health system such as glucose monitor, blood pressure monitor, and pulse oximeter.
  • Non-contact thermometers and weight scales are also available to track temperature and weight.

Managing health issues can feel difficult and confusing for many older adults and their families. Medical monitoring services can help streamline health data, improve treatment adherence, and deliver early identification to providers, taking home monitoring for elderly individuals to a whole new level. After reviewing the top medical monitoring services, we recommend Electronic Caregiver’s Pro Health service.

Pro Health provides 24/7 advanced remote patient monitoring with voice technology using connected devices to monitor key vitals and health indicators, such as blood-sugar levels, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and heart rate. That data is stored and shared automatically through the Care Circle App and integrated health dashboards. Alerts and actionable data are sent to care teams in real-time if readings are concerning. This home health monitor also includes 24/7 emergency response and physician-on-demand services.

Type: Comprehensive AI home service 

Best for: Those with larger budgets who want the most innovative option

Price: About $400/month (company estimates cost at $13.30 per day)

Features:

  • Interactive virtual caregiver is programmed to recognize users and can learn their behaviors.
  • System can also give memory stimulation exercises, medication reminders, or rehab for agility and strength. 
  • 24/7 emergency response available. 
  • Vitals monitoring available.
  • Certified professional installment of Addison touch screens within home.

One of the most innovative elderly monitoring systems on the market is Addison Care: a modern, 3D-animated, virtual caregiver service that turns a loved one’s residence into a digital smart home devoted to their health. It provides chronic care management, rehabilitation, behavioral health, and care coordination via interactive video monitors set up around your loved one’s house. A virtual caregiver interacts with your loved one and is programmed to recognize users and respond appropriately if they appear sick or unsafe.

Addison Care can be programmed to provide several therapeutic services, including memory stimulation exercises, medication reminders, and rehab for agility and strength. The system also offers 24/7 emergency response home security and vitals monitoring, if needed. Though it may sound like an impossible device to set up and use, Addison Care will send certified professional installers to set up monitors around your home and teach you how to use them. But this service doesn’t come cheap—it costs roughly $13 a day or $400 a month. While that may sound expensive at first, it pales compared to the cost of assisted living or 24-hour skilled nursing care.

How to Choose the Right Monitoring System for the Elderly in the Home 

When shopping for a monitoring system, you’ll want to ensure the device meets your loved one’s specific needs. You should ask yourself certain questions before purchasing a home health monitoring system:

  • What health issues does your family member have and do they require regular monitoring?
  • Does your loved one become confused or are they prone to wandering?
  • Is your family member at risk of falling?
  • Do hired aides or senior sitters stay with your loved one part-time or full-time? 
  • Are you concerned about your loved one’s eating or bathroom habits?
  • Will your loved one wear a lanyard or wristband device?
  • How much is your budget for a monitoring system for the elderly in the home?

Bottom Line

Technology has taken remote caregiving to new levels, with various services designed to help elderly individuals age at home as long as possible. “Someone who wanders will be best with a GPS tracking system which works out of the home,” Mahon advises. “Some systems have built-in alarms which can be set to prompt users to take medications or meals.”

But these specialized services do come at a price, which can be pretty steep depending on the system and services needed. Considering the cost of assisted living or 24-hour skilled nursing care, you can rest assured knowing that elderly monitoring services are a bargain at a fraction of the price. And the peace of mind they give both the caregiver and the person being monitored? Well, that’s priceless.

Frequently Asked Questions

Most people are familiar with at-home medical alert systems, which offer quick responses at the touch of a button. But there are many elderly monitoring systems on the market designed to meet more specific needs of elderly individuals, including fall detection, bathroom monitoring, health trend tracking, and wandering alerts.

Pricing is Accurate as of March 14,2022.

WRITTEN BY

Jennifer Walker-Journey is a writer with special interest in the research, development, and federal regulations of medical devices, pharmaceutical drugs, and psychedelic therapies. Her clients include law firms, healthcare systems, financial corporations, public health entities, and digital marketing groups. Her work has been featured in USA Today, HowStuffWorks, Psychedelic Spotlight, Health, AARP, Everyday Health, Women, and Sea Island Life, Salamander, and Omni magazines. She is also a contributor to the books Birmingham: Magic for the New Millennium and Birmingham At 150: Built To Last. When she is not writing, she runs, almost daily, and still considers qualifying for the Boston Marathon among her greatest accomplishments.

MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY

Jenny is an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner in NYC with a passion for working with aging adults and their family members. Prior to her clinical training at Vanderbilt School of Nursing, she worked in business and medical research at Harvard Business School and Massachusetts General Hospital. As a Caregiving Coach at Givers, Jenny helps family members manage the financial, emotional, and educational stresses of caring for their loved ones who are aging in place.