If you are a caregiver for a family member or friend who lives in their own home across town or across the country, a new product can help you feel more secure about their well-being. A simple piece of technology, called Evermind, can reassure you that your loved one is going about their usual routine.
Until my mother was 72 she lived alone in a cottage on a deep, wide lake. It was a beautiful area, but isolated—especially in the winter. When snow covered the steep gravel road leading down the cliff to the cottage, Mom would park her car at the top of the cliff and hike up and down with ice cleats on her boots for traction and ski poles in her hands for balance, lugging her groceries and library books in a small red backpack.
Over the last five years she lived at the cottage, I noticed many signs that Mom was functioning less well, but when I checked on her she didn’t want me to worry. It was only after she agreed to move in with me and my young family that I realized how much she had declined with her early-stage dementia.
Looking back, I wish I had paid more attention to Mom in those last years she lived alone. Since the cottage was an hour away from me, it would have been helpful to have had a simple way to check on her in addition to calling her and visiting.
Evermind2I would have found a new product, called “Evermind,” very reassuring. Evermind monitors your loved one’s use of their electrical appliances. A small, white Evermind box plugs into a wall outlet or power strip, with the appliance plugged into the box. Using built-in wireless Internet, Evermind alerts you if the appliances your loved one normally uses each day have not been turned on or off. Compatible appliances include microwave ovens, coffee makers, TVs, lamps, curling irons, CPAP machines, garage door openers and more. No home Internet connection is required.
According to Evermind’s press release, “Family members receive text messages or email notifications when an appliance is used or not used within a specific time period—primarily when changes in a daily routine could be cause for concern. For example, if an aging grandmother doesn’t turn on the evening news, her grandson will be notified via text and can check on her…With Evermind, daily rituals like making coffee in the morning or switching a bedside lamp off at night can serve as a simple check-in system, signaling that all is well without diminishing independence or requiring changes in routine.”
Dr. Dave Gilbert, Evermind’s co-founder and CEO, developed Evermind to help his grandmother remain in her own home.
Their press release quotes Linda, a long-distance caregiver for her 96-year-old mother-in-law, as saying, “My mother-in-law is very independent, and I respect that. With Evermind, I feel reassured, and I really have peace of mind. Now, when I call her, I can just call her to chat because I already know she’s okay.”
I wish that such technology existed 10 years ago. When my mother moved into my home I learned that Mom had been worried about falling on the hill at the cottage. She also knew something was wrong with her memory. If Evermind had existed then, it’s likely that Mom would have appreciated the technology as an unobtrusive way for me to check on her while letting her maintain her independence and privacy. She was proud, but practical.