As time goes by, living at home can start to feel like a tug of war between independent seniors who want to retain their privacy and family members who worry about falls, medication schedules, and their loved one’s overall health. Until recently the main compromise options were frequent calls, wearable “help buttons” for falls and emergencies, and web cameras that relatives could view remotely. Over the last few years, a new type of monitoring system has emerged that gives seniors privacy, offers support even in non-emergency situations, and lets family members and caregivers know what’s happening in real time.
BeClose uses cellular, motion detection, and internet technology to create a relatively “invisible” home monitoring system that lets relatives and caregivers track seniors’ activity and receive alerts for such things as missed medication, falls, long periods of inactivity, and more. The system, which was first used by the company’s president to keep tabs on her aging mother, won the Frost & Sullivan North American Technology Innovation of the Year award for the personal emergency response market in 2010.
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BeClose uses a base station and sensors placed around the home to keep track of household activity such as sleeping, waking, eating, taking medication, and other daily events. The BeClose system uses wireless motion and weight sensors – including special sensors for the client’s bed and preferred chair – to record and share information with family members or other caregivers online and by phone. Customers can purchase a package of 3 or 6 sensors; a monthly monitoring fee is required to give family and caregivers access to data and alerts.
The system is unobtrusive, easy to install, and does not require the home to have an internet or wireless service plan. Data gathered by the sensors can show caregivers whether a senior is having trouble sleeping, forgetting to take medication, or maintaining a normal and healthy routine. Family members receive real-time alerts if something out of the ordinary occurs. BeClose does not use cameras, so seniors can maintain their privacy.
BeClose’s parent company, WH Interactive LLC, has been Better Business Bureau accredited since 2011 and has an A+ rating with the BBB as of July 2015.
The cost for BeClose is higher than for typical personal emergency response systems.
Monitoring contract terms and the company’s refund policy are not available on the website. Prospective customers should request that information in writing from the company.
BeClose does not list prices on its website, but US News & World Report and other media outlets have said that the company’s basic 3-sensor equipment package costs $399, and a 6-sensor package costs $699. Monthly monitoring service prices begin at $69. Interested consumers should contact BeClose directly for detailed and up-to-date information.
Seniors who prefer not to be monitored on camera in their homes; seniors who prefer to contact family members or caregivers first in case of trouble; family members who want frequent detailed updates on their loved ones’ activity level and routines; senior care providers who prefer real-time feedback on clients.