Over the past several months, we’ve been looking at smartphone apps designed to help caregivers get and stay organized. These days, there are new technologies emerging all the time, and they really can make our lives a bit easier.
I was recently introduced to Comfort Zone, a web-based location management service offered by the Alzheimer’s Association in partnership with Omnilink. Think of it as MedicAlert on steroids! I truly wish a service like this had been available when my mom was living independently. Wandering is a concern that weighs heavily on the minds of Alzheimer’s families, so these monitoring services are certainly worth consideration.
Option 1: Comfort Zone
Comfort Zone offers two options, with additional flexibility built into each one. The first is the full-fledged comprehensive Comfort Zone service, which uses a device worn by the Alzheimer’s patient or mounted in a car if the person is in the early stages and still driving. The device reads signals from satellites and cell towers to determine the person’s location on a set schedule (for instance, every 15 or 30 minutes) and communicate back to the integrated web application.
Families can choose the desired level of monitoring; verifying location in real-time via Internet, receiving alerts when the person leaves a predefined zone, or emergency access, whereby assistance is only utilized in the event of a wandering incident. The service also comes with 24×7 live support as well as membership in the MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return® program.
Comfort Zone gives caregivers instant peace of mind while providing the flexibility to adjust devices and plans as the disease progresses and specific needs change. Families can monitor their loved one’s location from anywhere in the country, so even if you live in another state or are away on vacation, all you need is an Internet connection to tap into the system. The service starts at $42.99/month (plus activation fee and cost of device).
Option 2: Comfort Zone Check-In
The second option is called Comfort Zone Check-In. While this doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of the full service, it’s a great lower cost alternative that may provide a sufficient level of monitoring for your loved one. This option offers “on-demand” monitoring as well as one scheduled location alert per day. Like Comfort Zone, this service provides flexibility to choose the device and plan that fits your situation best. It works with devices similar to those described above, but is also compatible with any active Sprint phone. And starting at just 9.99/month, the cost is well under that of a daily cup of coffee!
Do Your Homework
While there may be other monitoring devices out there, Comfort Zone is the only service developed specifically with Alzheimer’s patients in mind. Read more on the Comfort Zone website, and carefully consider your loved one’s current condition when deciding on a plan. While this may not be for everyone, it could be just what you’re looking for to help your loved one maintain his or her independence just a little bit longer, and we all know how important that is.
If your family has used a location management monitoring service, we’d love to hear about it. Please leave a comment to share your own experience.