I have written before about my views on care@home rather than Care Homes, and I touched on the flexible and creative use of existing Technology to help people stay in their homes for longer.

I was recently asked to help sort out a monitoring and security solution for an elderly “friend of a friend” who has zero technological competence, has a habit of turning every plug off when not in use, is resistant to any form of change, and thinks China is spying on us all. Add in onset dementia, a stubborn personality and a daily carer and it was quire an interesting challenge.

Starting with the technology the first task was to get an internet connection sorted. Simple enough on the face of it but bear in mind the above tendency to switch off plugs, and a history on fixating on new things I decided that a “standard” Router connected to the phone line was not an option as a) it would be at risk of been powered off, b) it would be highly visible and so a frequent topic of conversation and c) would need installing before anything else could be set up which given the geography and COVID-19 was far from ideal.

I opted for a TPLink SIM card router, with a giffgaff SIM card to provide the data. The giffgaff SIM was set up and activated with the families address, log in details and payment, and at the end when everything was working, they changed the password. I had both the router and the SIM card delivered to my house so I could activate and set up the internet connection using a SSID and WiFi password that they provided.

I am a big fan of Ring products, and application, so I had two external security cameras and an internal webcam delivered to my house so I could set them up with the above router and WiFi network, and the Ring application had the same login details as giffgaff, and again, they changed the password at the end. The Ring application meant that anyone with the sign in details could access the account and receive notifications which in this case included several family members and the carer.

Having done all this at home all that was required to do at the house was to install the router (upstairs in an infrequently used room, on top of a wardrobe – so out of site and not at risk of been powered off), and the two external security cameras (hard wired in to again avoid risk of being turned off) and the internal webcam which as focussed on the foot of the stairs and the front door (again hardwired in). I set up some initial motion zones and scheduled for the internal webcam to be on, but these could be amended anytime through the Ring application – which has the option to subscribe to a cloud service to store recorded footage.

So far so good” nothing has been turned off, the internal webcam was situated out of any usual eye line and has already been forgotten about, and the two external security cameras are perceived as just been external motion activated lights so have caused no issues.

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