Keeping Parents Safe from Afar


By Karen Vogel

Looking for a technology solution to keep my 92-year old father safer, I came across the Lively safety watch ( My dad lives in an independent apartment in a retirement village 1200 miles away. He’s fallen a couple of times where he couldn’t reach a phone or a call button for help. His most recent fall occurred in the shower at night, and he lay on the floor for 14 hours before help arrived (he’s recovering after hospital and rehab care, and he’s fine).

When Dad still lived at home, he tried the Life Alert system but hated how cumbersome it was. The Lively safety watch is discreet, waterproof, and stylish (it looks like a FitBit). It tells the time, tracks his steps, and if he presses the alert button, a nurse calls back immediately. If he can’t answer, three calls are made – one to the building’s front desk which has 24/7 coverage, one to alert me, and one to his neighbor who has a spare key to his apartment.

…my father has embraced the safety watch, doesn’t feel like “big daughter is watching,” and appreciates how this system facilitates his independence.

The safety watch comes with a hub and four small sensors that are placed in strategic areas to track movement: the front door, his pillbox, the medicine cabinet, and the refrigerator. It’s all powered by batteries and an outlet; a computer isn’t required. Lively has a range of 1500 feet, which is more than adequate. As the administrator, I’ve programmed the system to email or text me when there is no movement between certain hours. I access a dashboard to see his daily patterns. This way, I know if he’s left the apartment, shaved, taken his insulin, made his lunch, etc. Dad still has his privacy – there are no cameras, and there are no sensors in the bedroom. I monitor his movement – or lack of movement – from an app on my smart phone or laptop, and I can change the settings remotely.

Most importantly, my father has embraced the safety watch, doesn’t feel like “big daughter is watching,” and appreciates how this system facilitates his independence. He still uses the facility’s safety pendant as a backup. I’ve asked his friends and neighbors if they would wear this kind of watch, and they all answered with a resounding “yes.” No system is perfect. There is always a possibility of an emergency; however my father and I are now better empowered to prevent another crisis. After the initial purchase of the watch ($49), it costs about $30/month, and it’s worth every penny.

I don’t get any commissions from Lively; I’m simply a cheerleader. If a family member is at risk – especially if they live alone – whether they reside at home or in a more structured setting, this personal safety system is worth checking out.

PNA Swoosh


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