New App Allows You to Monitor Loved Ones with Dementia

BoundaryCare App

By Katy Read, Star Tribune (Minneapolis), TNS

(TNS) Scott and Paul Carpenter created BoundaryCare after finding little available to protect family members—including their own.

MINNEAPOLIS—When his wife, Anne Maple, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, Scott Carpenter soon discovered there were no really effective products to help caregivers monitor the safety of loved ones with dementia.

So he recruited their son, Paul, to make one.

Scott, 64, of St. Paul, a professor of French literature at Carleton College since 1990, also ran a tech company for several years. Paul, who is 33 and lives in New York City, is a software engineer specializing in mobile platforms. Together, they created BoundaryCare, an app that uses an Apple Watch (and will soon be available for Android) to share information with caregivers on their iPhone or iPad. Monthly subscriptions start at $24.99 after a free trial.

The father and son duo founded BoundaryCare in 2019, began development in 2020, and brought the app to market last year. Sadly, it came too late for Anne, whose disease was too advanced for independent activities by the time the app was available. She died in April of this year.

An estimated 6 million Americans have Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that number is projected to double by 2050 unless a treatment is developed. Meanwhile, nearly 80% of adults 50 and over want to remain in their homes as they age, according to AARP.

BoundaryCare has a number of health and safety features, including alerts to caregivers if their loved one wanders or falls. We asked the Carpenters to tell us more about the app and why it’s needed.

Q: What types of products for protecting people with dementia were on the market before BoundaryCare? Why did you find them inadequate?

Paul: Most of the products were single-purpose devices. They might track location but not detect falls, or detect falls without monitoring other health metrics. They were bulky and socially stigmatizing. Our idea was to take a stylish Apple Watch, which has medical-grade sensors, and offer many supports at once.

Q: So how does BoundaryCare help?

Scott: Well, location monitoring is huge, of course, so we alert caregivers if a loved one wanders from a defined safe zone or itinerary. Fall detection is critical, too. And because caregiving often involves several people, we make it easy to share responsibilities within the family, scheduling who receives alerts, depending on the day or time. Then, if you need to check up on your loved one, you can call them on the watch directly.

Q. What other things can BoundaryCare do?

Paul: Thanks to the watch’s sensors, we provide alerts for high or low heart rate, low oxygen saturation, and atrial fibrillation. We can track sleep quality and fitness metrics, and even send reminders about meds, hydration or when to feed the cat. Finally, our web portal can be used to reveal trends and correlations, and the data can be exported for sharing with health care professionals.

Q: Can the app be used by people other than those with dementia?

Scott: Definitely. It’s a great support for seniors who are simply aging in place. In that case, you turn off whatever features you don’t need, like location monitoring. We also have parents using it to monitor autistic children, as well as agencies that support intellectually or developmentally disabled adults.
Q: How do people get the app?

Paul: They download it on their iPhone from the App Store, and they set it up on a paired Apple Watch. As far as cost goes, most long-term care insurance will cover it, and some individuals will be supported through Medicaid. Employers can even offer BoundaryCare as a support for employees who have caregiving responsibilities. Still, many people pay out of pocket, so we try to keep the cost as low as possible.

Q: How many users have you had?

Paul: We’ve supported over 1,000 users so far, and more are finding us every day.

Q: What sorts of feedback have you received from users?

Scott: What we hear most often from caregivers is that BoundaryCare provides peace of mind. Also, most report that BoundaryCare will help them keep their loved one at home longer. I have to say, that’s the one that gets me the most. Both Paul and I identify strongly with our customers. MSN

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